EN
Transport

Only road carrier was liable for thawed fish

logo
Legal news
calendar 5 September 2021
globus Denmark

During road and rail carriage form Denmark to Italy, a shipment of frozen fish was carried at excessive temperatures. The fish thawed and was rejected by the recipient. The cargo owner and the contracting carrier claimed compensation from the performing road carrier and rail carrier. The Court found that only the road carrier was liable as the driver ought to have made sure of the correct temperature for carriage.

A fish product manufacturer booked carriage of a shipment of frozen fish with a contracting carrier. The contracting carrier made an agreement with a performing carrier and rail carrier, to carry the goods from Denmark to Italy.

The trailer with the fish was set to +2C° instead of -20C° on departure. The error was not corrected when the trailer was handed over from the road carrier to the rail carrier. The shipment was rejected by the buyer. The cargo owner subsequently processed the fish into dry-salted fish. However, there was still a loss associated with the carriage, and the cargo owner and contracting carrier claimed compensation from the performing carriers.

The performing road carrier claimed that they had not received any instructions regarding the temperature of the trailer. On the other hand, the contracting carrier claimed that the driver in question had instructions and regularly drove for the cargo owner with fish on either frost or chill, so he should have noted that there could be temperature requirements for this carriage.

The performing rail carrier claimed that the framework agreement with the contracting carrier did not dictate that the rail carrier should check the temperature on the trailer. Furthermore, they had not been given any instruction on a specific temperature for this carriage.

The Maritime and Commercial High Court: Only the performing carrier liable for the loss

The Court found that the performing road carrier should have examined which temperature the trailer should be set to. The Court justified this, among other things, with the fact that the driver had previously driven for the same cargo owner. Then he should also had been aware that the cargo often was refrigerated and frozen goods. When he did not receive any specific information regarding the temperature of the cargo in question, he should have contacted the cargo owner or the contracting carrier for clarification.

At the same time, the Court found no agreement had been reached with the rail carrier on the temperature of this specific transport. Then the executing rail carrier was not liable for the temperature damage.

Therefore, only the executing road carrier was liable for the loss suffered by the cargo owner.

IUNO’s opinion:

The judgment illustrates the carrier’s duty of inspection in case of unclear or conflicting information. In such a case a driver can be obligated to perform closer inspections. We recommend that this is emphasized to all drivers in their busy workday.

[The Maritime and Commercial High Court’s ruling in case BS-59348/2019-SHR of 25 May 2021]

A fish product manufacturer booked carriage of a shipment of frozen fish with a contracting carrier. The contracting carrier made an agreement with a performing carrier and rail carrier, to carry the goods from Denmark to Italy.

The trailer with the fish was set to +2C° instead of -20C° on departure. The error was not corrected when the trailer was handed over from the road carrier to the rail carrier. The shipment was rejected by the buyer. The cargo owner subsequently processed the fish into dry-salted fish. However, there was still a loss associated with the carriage, and the cargo owner and contracting carrier claimed compensation from the performing carriers.

The performing road carrier claimed that they had not received any instructions regarding the temperature of the trailer. On the other hand, the contracting carrier claimed that the driver in question had instructions and regularly drove for the cargo owner with fish on either frost or chill, so he should have noted that there could be temperature requirements for this carriage.

The performing rail carrier claimed that the framework agreement with the contracting carrier did not dictate that the rail carrier should check the temperature on the trailer. Furthermore, they had not been given any instruction on a specific temperature for this carriage.

The Maritime and Commercial High Court: Only the performing carrier liable for the loss

The Court found that the performing road carrier should have examined which temperature the trailer should be set to. The Court justified this, among other things, with the fact that the driver had previously driven for the same cargo owner. Then he should also had been aware that the cargo often was refrigerated and frozen goods. When he did not receive any specific information regarding the temperature of the cargo in question, he should have contacted the cargo owner or the contracting carrier for clarification.

At the same time, the Court found no agreement had been reached with the rail carrier on the temperature of this specific transport. Then the executing rail carrier was not liable for the temperature damage.

Therefore, only the executing road carrier was liable for the loss suffered by the cargo owner.

IUNO’s opinion:

The judgment illustrates the carrier’s duty of inspection in case of unclear or conflicting information. In such a case a driver can be obligated to perform closer inspections. We recommend that this is emphasized to all drivers in their busy workday.

[The Maritime and Commercial High Court’s ruling in case BS-59348/2019-SHR of 25 May 2021]

Receive our newsletter

Mads

Poulsen

Partner

Aage

Krogh

Partner

Lars

Rosenberg Overby

Partner

Mads

Christopher Whitta-Jacobsen

Associate

Similar

logo
Transport

14 November 2021

Damage caused during security check was time-barred

logo
Transport

14 November 2021

Recourse claim against executing carrier not time-barred

logo
Transport

1 October 2021

Re-arrest of ship was necessary and lawful

logo
Transport

2 September 2021

Carrier not liable for fire in uncle’s warehouse

logo
Transport

25 August 2021

logo
Transport

4 July 2021

The team

Aage

Krogh

Partner

Ida

Thune Ikkala

Legal assistant

Kathrine

Wohlers Sørensen

Junior legal assistant

Lars

Rosenberg Overby

Partner

Mads

Christopher Whitta-Jacobsen

Associate

Mads

Poulsen

Partner