Ocean Carrier Can’t Use Carmack Amendment

Monday, November 10, 2008

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the Carmack Amendment does not apply to ocean carriers that utilize an intermodal bill of lading.

In the instant case, plaintiff cargo owner contracted with defendant ocean carrier for the transport of cargo from Rotterdam to Colorado via the port of Houston. The cargo arrived in Houston. Plaintiff directed defendant to hold the cargo because the consignee had not yet tendered payment. Defendant negligently released the cargo to the consignee, which shortly thereafter declared bankruptcy. Plaintiff sued defendant ocean carrier for its loss. Defendant moved for partial summary judgment to limit its liability under the Carriage of Goods at Sea Act (COGSA), which had been incorporated into the bill of lading, not only for the ocean transit, but for the entire intermodal shipment. Plaintiff argued that defendant had not complied with the additional requirements of the Carmack Amendment.

The court held that the Carmack Amendment was not pertinent because it only applied to rail carriers. Rexroth Hydraudyne B.V. v. Ocean World Lines, Inc., No. 07-1207-cv (2nd Cir., November 6, 2008).

(Source: Holland & Knight)

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