Broker's failure to pass voyage instructions to correct party
The broker acted for a chartering company with offices in the USA and Europe, and the agreement between them required the broker to advise the US company of the status of the charter arrangements for all shipments to the USA.
The US company entered into a contract of affreightment with owners to ship a cargo from Algeria to Louisiana. Owners nominated their ship, which charterers confirmed, and charterers issued voyage instructions which provided that the ship was to be tendered by 13/14 November. On or about 10th November, owners advised the broker that the nominated ship was not in a position to reach the Algerian port on time and suggested a replacement with new laycan 14/15
November. The broker erroneously passed this information to his principal's European company instead of the US company. On 11th November owners advised the broker that the replacement ship would not arrive until 15th November, which information was again passed to the European company in error. On 12th November the US company, having been advised by the European company of the change in the nominated ship, issued amended voyage instructions which still indicated laycan terms 13/14 November despite the fact that the European company had been advised that the ship would not arrive until 15th November. The ship duly arrived at 20.18 hours on the 15th but no berth was available until 19th November when loading began. The ship sailed on 21st November. Subsequently, owners made a claim on the brokers for US$54,000 representing demurrage for approximately 3.6 days.
In recognition of their partial responsibility in failing to pass information to the correct party, the broker offered to contribute one-third but this was rejected. Eventually, settlement was agreed with the broker paying US$36,000. Legal costs incurred were US$4,000.