A shipbroker was involved in a fixture where the charterer needed a ship at a certain time.
The charterer sent an email to the broker to narrow the laycan to 30 days but the broker was on holiday and the email was missed. It was not seen until two weeks later when the broker returned.
The email was immediately sent to the owner, but the owner could now not arrive at the dates requested by the charterer. The charterer insisted on those dates as their buyer demanded it.
Eventually the owner managed to nominate another ship to perform the fixture on the dates required by the charterer. However, the freight rate was significantly higher than the figure originally agreed in the charterparty – US$ 104/MT as opposed to US$ 68/MT.
A claim was made by the charterer against the broker for the difference, which amounted to just under US$ 1m. The broker had no defence and therefore the claim was settled.
ITIC reminds members to have systems and controls in place for when people are away from the office (e.g. on annual leave) so that emails and important messages are not missed.