If the goods and containers are seized by the customs due to the shipper's reasons, who is responsible for the resulting storage fees at the terminal? The cargo container provided by the carrier cannot be used due to seizure. How should the carrier recover the loss?
Today, I would like to share with you a real case involving who should bear the storage costs incurred during the detention of container goods by the customs. In this case, the court held that the storage costs should not be borne by the carrier. This is how it happened? Let's take a look together.
On December 23, 2011, the defendant Weihang Company applied to the plaintiff Mediterranean Shipping Company to book a space for one container. The booking person recorded in the booking application was the defendant Weihang Company, the carrier was the plaintiff, and the loading port was China Yantian, the port of destination is Gdynia, Poland, and the estimated sailing time is December 31. After accepting the booking, the plaintiff issued a booking confirmation to the defendant.
On December 27, 2011, the defendant extracted the plaintiff’s container from Yantian Terminal Company, and returned the container to Yantian Terminal Company on December 28 for shipment after loading the cargo. On December 30, Gangyuan Company declared the export of the above-mentioned containerized goods to Dapeng Customs with the export goods declaration form. The business unit and the shipping unit recorded in the customs declaration form are Tuomuer Company, and the product name is artificial flowers.
On February 24, 2012, Dapeng Customs issued an administrative penalty decision letter and an administrative penalty notice to Tuo Muer Company due to the inconsistency between the actual export volume and the declared volume, stating that its behavior constituted an illegal act in violation of customs supervision regulations, and imposed a penalty The administrative fine was RMB 120,000. The whereabouts of Tomur Company is unknown after receiving the Customs Penalty Decision.
On March 1, 2012, the plaintiff requested the defendant to resolve the issue of the container detention in the port of departure as soon as possible, and confirmed the costs incurred during the customs detention, including the container overdue usage fee of RMB 81,925 and the terminal storage fee of RMB 156,300. On July 9, 2014, Yantian Terminal Company sent a dunning letter to the plaintiff, informing him that the container involved in the case had a terminal storage fee totaling US$10,687.20. On July 15, the plaintiff paid 65,750.86 yuan to Yantian Wharf Company, and the storage fee was indicated on the remittance slip.
The defendant claimed that it had accepted Longbang’s entrustment to book the cargo in this case from the plaintiff, and the plaintiff recognized this, but the plaintiff believed that the defendant was the party who established the maritime cargo transportation contract with him. Regarding the status of the container involved, the parties to the court unanimously confirmed that the container was still seized by the customs and could not be used.
Referee's point of view
The Guangzhou Maritime Court held that after the defendant Weihang Company accepted the entrustment of Longbang Company to handle the cargo transportation matters involved in the case, it booked the space with the plaintiff in its own name, and the defendant did not provide evidence to prove that it indicated the identity of the trustee when booking the space with the plaintiff , And during the trial, the plaintiff clearly selected the defendant Weihang Company as a party to the contract and claimed rights against it, and it should be determined that a contractual relationship of carriage of goods by sea was established between the plaintiff and the defendant, with the plaintiff as the carrier and the defendant as the shipper.
The container in question was a means of transport provided by the plaintiff for the defendant to load the goods. The defendant should, in accordance with the requirements of the plaintiff’s booking confirmation, transport the loaded container back to the carrier’s designated location within the specified time so that the carrier can put it into operation. However, due to the goods themselves, the goods and the containers containing the goods were seized by the customs, and the containers cannot be circulated and used normally so far, which will inevitably cause losses to the plaintiff, and the defendant shall be liable for breach of contract compensation.
Since the two parties did not agree in the contract on what standard to pay the container overdue usage fee, the loss should be determined according to the loss caused to the carrier by the container being occupied for an overdue period. Generally, it is the loss and loss of the expected benefits of the carrier due to the loss of the normal use of the container. Loss of the cost of renting or replacing the container involved in the case from a third party. However, as the owner of the container in question, the plaintiff can adopt the method of replacing similar containers to avoid losses when he learns that the container with the loaded goods has been detained by the customs due to the suspected false customs declaration and that the container cannot be retrieved in a short period of time. Expansion. The defendant paid to the plaintiff RMB 81,925 for the overdue use of the container on December 11, 2012, which was sufficient for the plaintiff to replace similar containers and put them into operation. The plaintiff did not take appropriate measures to prevent further expansion of container losses, and it has no right to demand compensation from the defendant for container overdue losses after December 11, 2012.
The storage fees for the period from February 21, 2013 to February 20, 2014 belong to the storage costs incurred during the period when the container is seized by the customs. According to the third paragraph of Article 26 of the "Administrative Enforcement Law of the People's Republic of China," According to the provision that the storage costs incurred by the seizure shall be borne by the administrative agency, the costs shall not be borne by the defendant. During the period when the goods involved were seized by Dapeng Customs, the Yantian Wharf Company had no right to directly charge the plaintiff as the carrier, including storage fees, and the plaintiff was not obliged to pay the storage fees to Yantian Wharf Company, even if the plaintiff paid Yantian The terminal company actually paid, and did not have the right to demand the defendant to pay it. The plaintiff’s request for the defendant to pay terminal storage fees and interest has no factual and legal basis and should be rejected.
Regarding the plaintiff’s request for the defendant to vacate the cargo in the container and return the container, at the time of the trial, there was no evidence that Dapeng Customs had lifted the detention of the goods and containers involved in the case. The plaintiff should find another way to apply to Dapeng Customs for vacating. The goods in the box and retrieve the container involved.
As the operating unit of the goods involved in the case, Tomur Company's false declarations caused the container to which the plaintiff belongs to be seized by the customs, and Tomur Company shall be liable for compensation for the losses caused to the plaintiff. As the plaintiff claimed that the container overdue usage fee and terminal storage fee were not within the reasonable loss scope stipulated by the law, its lawsuit requesting Tomur to pay the container overdue usage fee, terminal storage fee and interest was not supported. The plaintiff's claim that Tomur Company emptied the cargo in the container and returned the container should also find another way to resolve it.
Gangyuan Company accepted Tomur Company’s entrustment to go through the export declaration formalities with the customs on its behalf. There is no evidence to prove that it was aware of the false customs declaration behavior of Tomur Company when receiving the entrustment. Therefore, the false customs declaration behavior of Tomur Company was caused. The legal consequences should not be borne by Gangyuan Company. The plaintiff’s claims against Gangyuan Company should not be supported.