Tile shipper hits the roof
A liner agent accepted a booking for a shipment of 24 containers of roofing tiles which were to be carried by barge to the load port before being transshipped onto a vessel bound for the UK.
The agent entered the booking details into the line’s booking system but failed to notice that the bookings were rejected by the line, due to lack of space. The agent went ahead and provided a quote to the shipper of US$ 2,300 per container, which the shipper accepted.
The containers were moved by barge and arrived at the load port at which point the mistake was noticed by the agent, who – without notifying the shipper – arranged for the containers to be shipped on the next available vessel. By this time, the freight rate had increased from US$ 2,300 per container to US$ 4,500 per container.
When the cargo arrived at the discharge port the line looked to the shipper to settle the additional ocean freight prior to releasing the containers to the consignee. The shipper refused to pay as they had not been notified of the higher freight rate, and had sold the goods to their buyer based on the US$ 2,300 container rate quoted by the agent.
The line looked to recover the difference in ocean freight from their agent on the basis that the shipper had a strong argument for not settling the outstanding amount. It was clear that the agent had been negligent in accepting the booking when they should not have done so, therefore the line was paid the difference in freight by the agent – the difference being US$ 2,200 per container x 24 containers = US$ 52,800. The agent recovered this sum from ITIC.