Forwarder owing for misdelivered cargo can collect from 3rd-party
A court in Hong Kong has ruled that Birkart Globistics Ltd., a freight forwarder, must pay Vastframe Camera Ltd. $143,815 after a consignment of cameras was released to a buyer by Moiroud S.A., a third-party cargo facilitator and Birkart's partner, without production of a bill of lading.
Birkart and Vastframe are based in Hong Kong. Moiroud is a French company.
The incident, which occurred in 2001, provoked litigation when the buyer, H.P.I. France, refused to pay the purchase price after the shipment of cameras had been misdelivered.
Moiroud, in an e-mail to Birkart, called the incident 'an unintentional mistake' and 'an isolated case of an oversight' on the part of a Moiroud employee.
Moiroud must pay Birkart the same amount Birkart has to pay Vastframe, according to a ruling by the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, also known as the Hong Kong Commercial Court.
The court determined that the release of the cameras without production of the shipment's bill of lading was a breach by Birkart of its contract of carriage, despite the fact that the only remuneration received by Birkart was a $150 profit share from its partner, Moiroud, and a small sum of Hong Kong dollars for container handling fees and export charges.
The case is titled 'Commercial Action No. 63 of 2002 Between Vastframe Camera Limited, Plaintiff; Birkart Globistics Ltd., Defendant; and Moiroud S.A., Third Party.'