Heavy vessel congestion continues in Brazil as ships looking to load soy and sugar fight for berthing slots, the fallout from the two commodities competing for transportation. Traders indicate that shipowners have sought to capitalise on the situation with some demurrage rates reported to have increased sharply from around US$18,000 to US$30,000 per day on trips to Brazil.
Demurrage and delay claims will no doubt emerge given the increased sums at stake.
- Have owners fully understood their contractual obligations in order to present valid claims and overcome evidential requirements?
- Have charterers fully understood those same contractual obligations with a view to best protecting their own interests?
Following the Eternal Bliss decision last year charterers could also face previously unforeseen liabilities, because as well as any demurrage, they could also be liable for other losses caused by a failure to load within the laytime. This case is due before the English Court of Appeal later this year, the outcome of which could prove timely for any parties dealing with demurrage-related issues arising from Santos.
You can read about the Eternal Bliss judgment here in which the successful shipowner was represented by my Reed Smith colleagues, Nick Austin and Mike Adamson.