TT Talk - Recovery of container detention charges by delivery agents

  • Date: 20/02/2007
  • Source: TT Talk 96

AIison Cook of the Club's Sydney office helpfully draws readers' attention to a problem faced by the local transport operators relating to recovery of container detention charges: liabilities arising from the customer's use of the container. This then gives the member a contractual basis upon which to pursue a recovery if charges are incurred through the customer's delay.

"We have noticed a recent increase in the number of instances of container detention charges from shipping lines being incurred by our Australian forwarding members. This is where containers are being detained by consignee customers for longer than the free period allowed by the lines. A number of members have expressed an interest in how they might better protect their businesses from incurring these charges when really they have no control over the boxes once they are delivered to their customers.

The problem often encountered is that the member is named as consignee on the ocean bill of lading and so becomes contractually liable for charges to the shipping line under that bill. However, as far as the contract of carriage with the cargo interests is concerned the member acts as an agent only for his (foreign) principal who issues the house bill of lading. Not being a party to the house bill of lading contract means that the member will not be able to rely upon the contractual rights available in it, such as, - and typically stated in most bills of lading - the right to recover container detention charges.

We recommend that members insert a clause into the arrival documentation to the effect that the container is released into the customer's care on the basis that the customer agrees to indemnify the member for any fees, charges and other

The Club's members who are interested may like to contact our Sydney office for a full version of the recommended wording for the arrival notice."

Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited and TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited, trading as the TT Club. TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited, registered in the UK (Company number: 02657093) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. In Hong Kong, TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is authorised and regulated by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority, in Singapore by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and in Australia by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. In the United States, TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is approved as a surplus lines insurer in all states and is accessible through properly licensed surplus lines brokers. The registered offices are: 90 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 4ST.

Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited, registered in Bermuda (Company number: 1750) is authorised and regulated in Bermuda by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. 

The UK VAT Identification number for Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited is: GB 564 5244 35 and for TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is: GB 564 3375 30. The Italian VAT Identification number for TT Club Mutual Ltd is: 03627210101.

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