Voyage Charters. Freight. Freight back to the port of loading.

When the ship is ready to deliver cargo at the port of destination, but the merchant does not take delivery or forward instructions within a reasonable time, the master, has the power and duty to deal with the cargo in the cargo owner’s interest at the cargo owner’s expense.

Back Freight

Where the owners cannot deliver the goods to the receivers either for safety reasons or because the receivers reject the goods being out of specification, the owners then entitled to recover their expenses in shipping the goods back to place of loading. Such expenses are known as back freight. In The Argos (Cargo ex), Gaudet v Brown (1873) LR 5 PC 134 it was held that expenses incurred can be recovered on the basis that the carrier is under duty to act for the safety of cargo:

… not merely is a power given, but a duty is cast on the master in many cases of accident and emergency to act for the safety of the cargo, in such manner as may be best under the circumstances in which it may be placed; and that, as a correlative right, he is entitled to charge its owner with the expenses properly incurred in so doing…

In Bominflot Bunkergesellschaft fur Mineralole mbH & Co v Petroplus Marketing AG [2012] EWHC 3009 (Comm) same principle was applied to sale contracts where the buyer had to incur the further cost of the freight back to port of loading sustained as a result of a seller’s breach of implied duty under s.14(2) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979. The cargo of gasoil although of specified quality when loaded on board of vessel, was found, when arrived at discharge port after an incident-free voyage, to be out of specifications, particularly as to sediment. The buyers successfully contended that the cargo of gasoil should be of satisfactory quality on delivery, one aspect of which was the gasoil’s ability to remain of satisfactory quality for a reasonable period after delivery. The buyer claimed the value of freight they had to incur to bring of spec cargo back to Antwerp (in order to sell it). The court held that such freight was foreseeably and reasonably incurred and is recoverable in damages.

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