American Transport Logistics v. Kobi Group Inc.

In Carriage of Goods by Sea on (Updated )

This was a motion for summary judgment brought by the plaintiff, an international freight forwarder, against the defendant, an international importer and exporter of commercial goods for resale. In January 2007, the defendant contacted the plaintiff to arrange the carriage of perishable goods from Germany to Kingston, Jamaica. The destination was later changed to St. Lucia and in March 2007 the goods arrived at St. Lucia. Upon arrival at St. Lucia, the St. Lucia authorities found the goods had passed their expiry dates and therefore condemned the goods and imposed local storage/detention charges. The defendant paid the shipping cost but refused to pay the storage/detention charges alleging that the plaintiff had acted without instructions in changing the destination to St. Lucia. The Court found that the defendant had, in fact, instructed the plaintiff to change the destination to St. Lucia. The Court additionally found that the terms of the contract between the parties imposed on the defendant the responsibility of paying all storage and detention charges. Finally, the Court held that article IV(2) of the Hague-Visby Rules, exempted the plaintiff from liability for such charges.