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The goods are claimed according to the minimum standard without proof of declaration

In 2013, the plaintiff Import and Export Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Seller Company), after receiving an order for foreign trade clothing totaling US $236640, entrusted the freight forwarder to book space from the defendant Hyundai Merchant Shipping Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the Merchant Shipping Association), and the involved container was loaded and transported in Ningbo Port. After the goods arrived at the port, the truck driver of the Merchant Shipping Association reported to the local police that his truck and container were robbed by armed robbers. For this reason, Seller Company filed a lawsuit on the ground that the goods involved in the case were lost during the period of responsibility of the Merchant Shipping Association, which resulted in the inability of its customers to obtain the goods, and requested the Merchant Shipping Association to compensate for the loss of the goods of USD 232000, the sea freight of RMB 23955.43 and two delayed payment of liquidated damages. After hearing the case, the Ningbo Maritime Court ruled that the Merchant Shipping Association would compensate the cargo loss of Seller for USD 1391.67 and the corresponding interest, and rejected other claims of Seller.

FOB trade term is the main foreign trade method adopted by China’s foreign trade export enterprises. Under the influence of the “going out” strategy, China’s small and medium-sized foreign trade enterprises have vigorously developed the markets of emerging economies, while bearing multiple risks such as foreign market integrity, security order and destination port policies.

The judgment in this case is that the goods valued at 232000 US dollars can only be compensated by more than one thousand US dollars at last, which also sounded an alarm to the majority of small and medium-sized foreign trade enterprises: when shipping the goods, the carrier must be required to issue a bill of lading and record the value of the goods on the corresponding documents. According to China’s maritime law, if the loss or damage of goods occurs in a certain section of multimodal transport, the liability and limitation of the multimodal transport operator shall be governed by the relevant legal provisions regulating the mode of transport in that section. This section of transportation takes place in Mexico, and Mexican laws shall apply. The merchant shipping association submitted a legal opinion certified by the local notary and the Chinese embassy and consulate, which can be used as the basis for determining the carrier’s liability and its limit. According to the relevant laws of Mexico, when the service user does not declare the value of the goods, the liability will be limited to the current 15-day minimum wage per ton in the Mexican Federal District. If it is less than one ton, it will be calculated proportionally. The customs declaration submitted by seller Company shows that the total value of the goods is 232000 US dollars, which corresponds to the value recorded in the foreign trade order. However, the value of the goods is not shown in the copy of the bill of lading and the Mexican inland waybill, which cannot prove that the value of the goods has been declared and the carrier and the carrier in the land transportation section have been informed, so the carrier’s liability should be limited to the current 15-day minimum wage per ton in the Mexican Federal District.



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