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Transport

Can you deliver by tipping the cargo off the trailer?

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Legal news
calendar 14 August 2020
globus Denmark

During the delivery of packaging products, cargo was damaged from falling from the back of the truck and hit the buyer’s, who was a medicinal company, truck. The medical company received compensation from its insurer, and the insurer then claimed compensation from the carrier. In this case, the Court had to decide if damaged cargo had been delivered to the buyer when the damage occurred, or if the carrier was liable for the loss. The Maritime and Commercial High Court ruled, that the carrier was responsible for the damage.

During the delivery of packaging products, the driver placed the cargo on the edge of the truck’s platform so the staff of the buyers, who were a medical company, could receive it. But the cargo fell over, hit the buyer’s forklift, and was damaged. The medical company received compensation for the damage from their cargo insurer and the insurer then claimed against the carrier.

The carrier rejected liability for the damage, claiming that the cargo had been delivered to the medical company and liability also had been transferred to the medical company when the damage occurred. This was supported by the fact that the truck was parked at the medical company’s property and the driver had borrowed the lifting equipment from the medical company, which was used to move the cargo towards the back of the trailer. Also, there was no agreement how the unloading had to be done.

The medical company claimed that the driver had decided how to unload and park the truck, and that liability had not been transferred when the damage occurred. In addition, it was alleged that this was the usual procedure for the driver to place the cargo, so the buyer would be able to lift it down with a forklift truck.

The Maritime and Commercial High Court: Liability had not passed to the medical company when damage occurred

The Court found that the driver had decided for himself where to park the truck, had moved the pallets towards the back of the trailer and that there were no instructions from the medical company on how to unload it. It was also highlighted that unloading usually happened this way.

The Court found that the actions performed by the driver had taken place while the cargo was still in the carrier’s custody. Liability had thus not passed to the medical company either, so the carrier was liable for the damage and had to pay compensation to the insurer.

IUNO’s opinion

The case shows the difficult issues that can appear upon loading and unloading goods and that transport law does not always tell if the carrier is liable or not. It is the carrier’s responsibility to make sure that the carriage of the goods is safe, but often it is the seller’s or buyer’s staff which is responsible for the loading and unloading operations. In this case, the court decides that the driver did not only perform the unloading but also planned it himself, and that he was responsible for his own errors.

IUNO recommends, that where possible – though in practice this will only be realistic in case of difficult/heavy cargo - it is clarified purchase and transport agreements between the parties involved who is responsible for loading and unloading.

[The Maritime and Commercial High Court’s judgement BS-18712/2019 of 27. March 2020]

During the delivery of packaging products, the driver placed the cargo on the edge of the truck’s platform so the staff of the buyers, who were a medical company, could receive it. But the cargo fell over, hit the buyer’s forklift, and was damaged. The medical company received compensation for the damage from their cargo insurer and the insurer then claimed against the carrier.

The carrier rejected liability for the damage, claiming that the cargo had been delivered to the medical company and liability also had been transferred to the medical company when the damage occurred. This was supported by the fact that the truck was parked at the medical company’s property and the driver had borrowed the lifting equipment from the medical company, which was used to move the cargo towards the back of the trailer. Also, there was no agreement how the unloading had to be done.

The medical company claimed that the driver had decided how to unload and park the truck, and that liability had not been transferred when the damage occurred. In addition, it was alleged that this was the usual procedure for the driver to place the cargo, so the buyer would be able to lift it down with a forklift truck.

The Maritime and Commercial High Court: Liability had not passed to the medical company when damage occurred

The Court found that the driver had decided for himself where to park the truck, had moved the pallets towards the back of the trailer and that there were no instructions from the medical company on how to unload it. It was also highlighted that unloading usually happened this way.

The Court found that the actions performed by the driver had taken place while the cargo was still in the carrier’s custody. Liability had thus not passed to the medical company either, so the carrier was liable for the damage and had to pay compensation to the insurer.

IUNO’s opinion

The case shows the difficult issues that can appear upon loading and unloading goods and that transport law does not always tell if the carrier is liable or not. It is the carrier’s responsibility to make sure that the carriage of the goods is safe, but often it is the seller’s or buyer’s staff which is responsible for the loading and unloading operations. In this case, the court decides that the driver did not only perform the unloading but also planned it himself, and that he was responsible for his own errors.

IUNO recommends, that where possible – though in practice this will only be realistic in case of difficult/heavy cargo - it is clarified purchase and transport agreements between the parties involved who is responsible for loading and unloading.

[The Maritime and Commercial High Court’s judgement BS-18712/2019 of 27. March 2020]

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Mads

Poulsen

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Aage

Krogh

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Lars

Rosenberg Overby

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The team

Aage

Krogh

Partner

Ida

Thune Ikkala

Legal advisor

Joachim

Sieverts Nielsen

Associate

Lars

Rosenberg Overby

Partner

Mads

Poulsen

Partner