Can I take ownership of cargo..
The shipping and freight industry sure is an interesting place with very different issues cropping up all the time.. Here’s one more case study that’s happened recently..
- Shipper ABC books cargo with a shipping line via a Forwarder
- Cargo is packed and container is shipped
- Bill of lading shows Shipper ABC as Shipper and XYZ as Consignee
- Shipper ABC has done the customs formalities for the exports, but port dues not paid
- Container reaches destination
- But the shipper ABC hasn’t taken release of his bill of lading at origin or destination
- Forwarder tries to contact ABC, but the shipper is missing.. ABC has also not paid the Forwarder the freight..
- The forwarder had already paid the freight to the line in anticipation that ABC would pay them the freight when they come to collect the bill of lading
- The bill of lading is a Straight Bill of Lading – shipped by a direct shipper to a direct consignee with no TO ORDER or TO ORDER OF BANK notations
- The shipping line office at the destination port have tried to contact the consignee and he is also missing and there is no one at the physical address provided for the shipper or consignee
- The full container is now sitting at the destination port and incurring port storage and line demurrage
- To safeguard his interest, the Forwarder pays all the local dues to the port and shipping line and collects the Original Bill of Lading (3)
- As per Commercial invoice submitted, the cargo is of good value
Question here is :
To recover his losses, can the forwarder place a lien, claim ownership of the cargo and sell the cargo to someone else..?? He has all 3 original bills of lading released to him by the shipping line, but consigned to XYZ..
One of the functions of a bill of lading is “Document of Title”.. Does the fact that he possesses all 3 Original bills of lading allow him to claim ownership under this pretext, especially since the owners of the cargo are absconding or untraceable and it is a Straight Bill of Lading..
What are his choices to recoup his losses (Freight, Local charges bends, Port Storage and Line Demurrage)..??