The port had invoiced the agent directly for these charges and in turn the port agent passed the charges to the lumber company for reimbursement. However, despite requesting payment on several occasions nothing was received.
ITIC contacted the lumber company on the agent’s behalf and also received no response. As a result lawyers were appointed to pursue matters further. A demand letter was sent advising that further action would be taken if no payment or response was received.
The lumber company appointed counsel to represent them and indicated that they wanted to settle the claim amicably Their issue was that they had not been put on notice by the agent of the significant increase in the port’s costs. However, the agent advised that they had passed on information regarding the increase, but that the lumber company had not responded. In any event, these costs were set by the port, not the agent, and the tariff was public knowledge. Ultimately, it was for the company using the port to check these costs.
A court ordered conference took place and the judge advised that if a settlement wasn’t forthcoming then the matter would be set down for mediation.
A number of months later, a settlement offer of US$ 60,000 was received. This was rejected and the matter proceeded to mediation where it was eventually settled for US$ 160,000.
The legal fees covered by ITIC were US$ 11,800.