When and how to claim Consequential Loss on Freight

Can I claim for consequential loss for a late delivery?

If a shipment is delivered late, you cannot claim for consequential loss costs unless you can prove that the carrier acted with “wilful neglect”.

For European shipments, the CMR convention takes precedent with a carrier’s maximum liability for late delivery being the freight charge. The freight charge must be paid to the carrier by the shipper and a claim subsequently lodged with them for this amount as this is their maximum liability under CMR carriage conditions. Proving “wilful neglect” can be very difficult and expensive.

A case for consequential loss may be strengthened if, when the shipper makes the freight booking with the carrier, they make it clear of the financial repercussions of late delivery. Informing the carrier in writing beforehand of the financial repercussions of late delivery is advisable. Do this by email and by writing the delivery deadline on the dispatch note signed by the driver. This will possibly strengthen your consequential loss claim.

In other words, if the carrier is not specifically warned of the adverse consequences for the shipper of a failure to deliver on time at or before the contract is made, no claim may usually be pursued.

You may also be able to put in place a consequential loss policy with an insurance broker or possibly have your current marine policy amended to include it.

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