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New Marine Case Related to Agreeing on a Loading Date

On 28 September 2023, the Arbitrazh Court of the North-Western District (St. Petersburg, Russia) considered the case regarding the collection of advance payments under a transport expedition agreement.

On 4 May 2022, Plitwood LLC (Claimant) and Trans-Business North-West LLC (Respondent) entered into a transport expedition agreement. In accordance with the agreement, the Respondent accepted the obligation to organize international transportation by sea from the port of Hamina (Finland) to St. Petersburg. The Claimant transferred to the Respondent an advance in the amount of 220,000 Euros.

On 17 June 2022, the Claimant recalled the advance payments and abandoned the contract, alleging that the date for submitting the vessel for loading had been violated. The Respondent returned the advance only partially.

The court found, based on the case materials, that the vessel should have been handed over for loading on 1 June 2022. The Respondent objected on the question of the loading date and insisted that the date was postponed and the vessel was ready for loading on 21 June 2022.

The Respondent claimed that he had incurred expenses to prepare for the transportation of cargo at the request of the Claimant, the amount of which is non-refundable: 45,325 Euro - the cost of services of TB Logistik GmbH in searching and organizing the charter of a vessel, organizing loading and unloading operations and survey support in the port of Hamina ; 1,725 Euro – cost of fastening materials; 2,854.41 Euro – preparation of a cargo plan, 337.49 Euro, commission for conducting operations for the purchase of foreign currency; 484.77 Euro – commission for transferring funds to TB Logistik GmbH; 239.98 Euro – commissions associated with the sale of foreign currency with partial return of the prepayment amount to the Claimant; 26,017.21 Euro – exchange rate difference.

During the study of the case materials, it turned out that the cargo plan was produced only on 28 June 2022, that is, after the Claimant abandoned the contract.

The court of first instance rejected the Respondent's objections; the Claimant's claims for the return of the advance were satisfied in full. This decision was supported in appeal and cassation.


It is impossible to say whether the court correctly examined the case materials and whether one loading date was actually agreed upon between the parties and not another. To do this, you need to know the case materials. However, in order to avoid such disputes, it is useful to engage a lawyer to participate in the correspondence to agree on the terms of cargo transportation. Messages exchanged by the parties via email or instant messengers may be interpreted as obligations or additional terms of the contract.

Cases related to the collection of funds due to inaccurate coordination of the date of presentation of the vessel for loading, unrealistic estimates of loading times, and inconsistency of the loading plan are not isolated. In all these situations, it is necessary in advance for all parties to the contract to discuss in detail not only the terms of the contract, but also the loading plan. In such situations, the court can accept the position of any party to the conflict based on the available evidence. The court cannot always establish the truth in the case, but will only examine the available written evidence and testimony of witnesses.
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