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Cable hits bridge
A UK liner agent booked the carriage of an electrical cable from Southampton to Singapore via Felixstowe. During the inland trucking of the cable to the port, the cable struck the underside of a road bridge. The cable was inspected and, as the damage appeared to be restricted to the packing, it was loaded on the ship. Unfortunately, when fully unpacked after arrival in Singapore, the cable was found to be useless for its intended purpose and a claim for US$500,000 was presented to the line.
The place of receipt shown on the bill of lading was Felixstowe and the UK liner agent was therefore acting for cargo during the pre-carriage. Fortunately the agent had notified the cargo interests of his own standard trading conditions by means of a footnote on the booking confirmation and was able to limit his liability. If he had not done so he would have had to pay for the value of the cargo and probably any consequential losses.
It is important for ship agents to have their own standard trading conditions (very often those of the local ship agents’ association).