With the internationalization and globalization of the marine economy, cross-border e-commerce is booming, and various legal risks hidden in international shipping trade have surfaced. After the cargo crossed the ocean and arrived at the destination port, no one picked up the cargo, causing the container to stay in the port for a long time and incurring high costs. In this issue, we briefly discuss the handling of unmanned delivery at the destination port.
1. Reasons for unmanned delivery at the port of destination
Affected by the sluggish international economic situation, some foreign buyers went bankrupt, some hoped to lower the price of goods through delay, some goods were inspected and detained by customs when they arrived at the port, and some buyers found that the goods had quality problems in advance, etc., which would cause long-term container goods. Detention in Hong Kong incurs a lot of costs.
At present, due to the long-term detention of the cargo in the port without picking up the cargo, the shipping company claims to the shipper for port storage fees and container overdue use fees. Buyers in some countries have bad intentions at the beginning of the trade. They have caused customs to auction the goods through long-term non-collection of goods, so that they can buy them at a low price, causing losses to domestic exporters.
2. Measures for handling unmanned delivery at the port of destination
1. Pay the freight on arrival: the consignee first bears it, if no one picks up the goods, the shipper will bear it.
According to the Maritime Law: “The shipper and the carrier may agree that the freight shall be paid by the consignee, but this agreement should be stated in the transport document.” There are two interpretations of this clause. The first is the carrier. It is agreed with the shipper that the freight shall be paid by the consignee, and after it is recorded on the bill of lading or other transportation documents, the freight shall be paid by the consignee, and the shipper does not need to pay the freight. The second is when the consignee agrees that the freight should be paid by the consignee and is recorded on the transport document (bill of lading), if the consignee requests the carrier to pick up the goods, the freight should be paid by the consignee. However, under the premise that no one picks up the goods at the port of destination, it shall be deemed that the third party (the consignee) has not fulfilled the debt, and the shipper shall still fulfill the obligation to pay the freight. The second view is recognized by judicial practice.
2. Pickup: The consignee picks up the goods first, if no one picks up the goods, the shipper will return or resell the goods.
According to the 'Maritime Law': 'If no one picks up the goods at the unloading port or the consignee delays or refuses to pick up the goods, the captain can unload the goods in a warehouse or other appropriate place, and the costs and risks arising therefrom shall be borne by the consignee 'This article can also be interpreted in two ways. The first is that the demurrage at the port of discharge shall be borne by the consignee; the second is that if the consignee at the destination port picks up the goods, the above-mentioned expenses shall be paid by the consignee. When no one picks up the goods at the port of destination, it shall be deemed that the third party has failed to perform the debt, and the shipper, as the counterparty of the transportation contract, shall perform the corresponding obligations under the transportation contract. The second view is recognized by judicial practice.
3. Demurrage fees and port detention fees: Demurrage fees and port detention fees caused by unmanned delivery shall be borne by the shipper. In practice, there are often freight forwarder
s who pay in advance and then collect from the shipper.
Generally, shippers who deliver goods rarely book directly with the carrier. At this time, when abandonment occurs at the port of destination, the carrier tends to negotiate with the booking forwarder, requiring the forwarder to bear the payment of freight and other due to demurrage. cost.
In the port of destination abandonment dispute, the role of freight forwarders can be roughly divided into:
(1) The freight forwarder is the shipper on MB/L;
(2) There is a booking framework agreement between the carrier and the booking forwarder, which stipulates that the booking forwarder shall be the shipper;
(3) The freight forwarder issues a letter of guarantee to the carrier in its own name, and the letter of guarantee specifies that the freight and other expenses shall be borne by the forwarder;
(4) The freight forwarder is not shown as the shipper on the bill of lading.
Whether the freight forwarder is obligated to pay the freight and other expenses is based on whether the freight forwarder's identity is the shipper or the agent. In the above cases (1) and (2), the identity of the freight forwarder is the shipper in the bill of lading relationship; in the case of (3), the letter of guarantee issued by the forwarder to the shipping company is generally between the carrier and the forwarder. This is a valid contract. At this time, the freight forwarder also has the obligation to pay freight and other expenses; in the case of (4), the shipper is the agent instead of the shipper, and the contractual relationship is to bind the principal (shipper) and the carrier Yes, the freight forwarder is not liable as an agent.
3. Ways to circumvent unmanned delivery at the port of destination
When entering into a sales contract with a foreign buyer, the foreign trade unit shall adopt CIF terms as much as possible and use the letter of credit
to settle foreign exchange, and require the issuance of an instruction bill of lading. The advantage of these measures is that even if the buyer wants to default on the goods, the seller can also collect the payment directly under the letter of credit.
When the consignee does not pick up the goods, the shipper should take disposal measures as soon as possible to prevent further increase in the port of destination cost, and if necessary, be determined to notify the carrier to abandon the goods as soon as possible.
As a carrier, you must promptly notify the shipper or its freight forwarder of unmanned delivery, prompt the risk of increased costs, and ask for advice on the handling of the goods; if the consignee has no feedback, you must also properly dispose of the goods in accordance with the law. Really fulfill the obligation of derogation.