The quality of wheat

A firm of cargo superintendents sampled a shipment of wheat bound for France.  The samples were sent to a laboratory for testing for various specifications, which included moisture, protein and admixture.  The samples were retained by the cargo superintendents for a short period and then disposed of, as is usual.  The underlying sale agreement was on GAFTA terms and the certificate issued on the basis of the load port test was binding on the buyer.  Ten months later the cargo superintendents were sued for an amount of US$ 80,000 by the buyers of the cargo, which had allegedly been found to be of inferior quality at the discharge port.  The cargo superintendents’ defence was hampered by lack of evidence, as no samples had been retained and no explanation could be given as to the difference between the laboratory results obtained at the discharge port and the load port.  The claim was eventually settled with a substantial contribution from the cargo superintendents.

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