Extension of common law rule against set off from freight to air freight

The London Circuit Commercial Court has held that the well established common law rule in shipping law that “a claim in respect of cargo cannot be asserted by way of a deduction from freight” extends to air freight. In this landmark case, the contract was for the carriage of chia seeds between a well known specialist in the transportation of goods by road, rail, air and sea, and a seller of raw materials. The Defendant asserted that it was a condition of the contract that the goods would be delivered within seven days.  They were considerably delayed. The dispute arose because the Claimant sought recovery of its air freight (i) which the Defendant  denied was due, or alternatively (ii) from which the Defendant wished to make deductions on the basis that the only freight payable was the sea freight equivalent, ie that payable if the goods had been transported by sea. Also in issue was whether the British International Freight Association…

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