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Chile: Shipping companies will pay compensation for loss of cherries shipped to Hong Kong

Christian Fernsby |
The Third Civil Court of Santiago ordered the Sud Americana de Vapores SA, Reederei Claus-Peter Offen GmbH and Co KG, and KG Santa Louisa' Offen Reederei GmbH and Co shipping companies to pay the sum of 498,901, as compensation for the losses caused when the cold chain breaks in the transport of fresh cherries to the port of Hong Kong.

The ruling holds that the fruit transported was damaged because the shipping companies didn't maintain the required refrigeration conditions, regardless of whether this occurred during the period of maritime transport or during the time the cargo remained at the port of destination.

According to the resolution, even though the container maintained a permanent temperature that was lower than 1° Celsius, with small intervals of variation, during the transport of the cargo by sea, it stopped working for extended periods of time since January 15, 2012, once the ship that transported the merchandise arrived at port.

Thus, for example, on January 15, 2012, the temperature fluctuated between 1.20 degrees and 4.17, between 09:00 and 16:00 hours, and registers show that the refrigerators had been turned off.

The ruling states that the Marine Cargo Claims document, which was translated by an expert appointed by the Court, shows that Super Harvest International Ltd made a Maritime Cargo Claim, noting that the Sud Americana de Vapores Group Agencies (Hong Kong) Ltda company had alerted that the container of cherries presented an operation problem, for reasons that are ignored.

The cargo arrived at the port on January 14, 2012, and the load was put at the disposal of the buyer, who confirmed the advanced stage of ripening of the fruit, on the January 20th of the same year.

There is no certainty of the date on which the fruit was unloaded, only of the date of arrival of the ship at the port of destination.

The responsibility of the shipping company, according to the law, extends until the delivery of the cargo, consigned in the bill of lading, according to the translation: "in the same cases previously mentioned, the agreed freight comprises the Transportation from the Point of Reception of the goods in the Port of Shipment until the Point of Delivery of the goods in the Port of Unloading, including the operations of loading and unloading on behalf of the Carrier."

Finally, the court dismissed the other arguments of the parties, including the payment of the defendants Reederei Claus-Peter Offen GmbH and Co. KG and Ms. Santa Louisa' Offen Reederei GmbH and Co, as they were found liable of having delivered the damaged cargo, without any exemption in their favor.

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