What price steel
A German liner agent took a booking for 10,000 mt. of steel rails from Hamburg to China to be moved in three separate parcels of 5,000, 2,000 and 3,000 tonnes. The agent had put forward details of the booking to the line, and believed that the line had agreed to carry all 10,000 tonnes at the same rate and therefore confirmed the booking to the shipper. The first 5,000 tonnes were carried without problem, but the line refused to carry the second and third parcels at the same rate due to a rise in the market.
Unfortunately, the line's telex of acceptance did not make it clear whether the line had accepted the first 5,000 tonnes at the rate quoted, or whether the rate applied to the full 10,000 tonnes. The difference in freight was considerable. The line eventually loaded the second and third parcels, but at a higher freight rate with the difference being paid by the agent.