The Taichung Branch of the Taiwan High Court rendered the 104-Chung-Shang-188 Civil Decision of October 5, 2017 (the “Decision”), which held that A telex release notice is an expedited scheme for use in taking delivery of shipments; it does not mean that the consignee is immediately entitled to ownership of the shipment per the bill of lading without asking the consignor for a release instruction solely by having agreed to the use of a telex release notice.
The Plaintiff in this case asserted that the Defendant (Company A) consigned the export of mangosteen through maritime shipment via the consignment agreement at issue ten times. The Plaintiff completed the shipping and customs declaration for the shipments at the instruction of Director B of Company A but could not successfully claim payment of shipping charges. Therefore, the Plaintiff filed a complaint to request payment by Company A or Director B pursuant to the consignment agreement,
According to the Decision, after the original bill of lading was stamped with the “Surrendered” mark, the shipper would notify its affiliate or agent at the port of destination by telephone, telex or facsimile to allow the consignee set forth in the bill of lading to request delivery of the cargo without needing to present the original bill of lading. As such, this “telex release” procedure is a practical approach in maritime shipping that exists as part of the bill of lading, the purpose of which is to release a consignee from having to present the original of the bill of lading to take delivery of the shipment as required by law. The shipper and the consignor would thus work with each other in agreeing to relevant guarantee mechanisms. This also shows that a telex release notice is simply an expedited way to handle the above cargo pickup requirement; it does not mean that a telex release notice would allow the consignee to immediately obtain the ownership of the goods set forth in the bill of lading regardless of whether the consignor has instructed the release of the cargo.
It was further pointed out in this Decision that according to process in which the consignment agreement at issue was established as well as relevant documents, it is clear that the consignor was Company A, and the Plaintiff was also requesting payment from Company A as a consignor. Even if a photocopy of the bill of lading shows Company C as the consignee, Company A may still claim damages pursuant to the consignment agreement in its capacity as the consignor.
Lastly, as only 30% of the mangosteen shipped by the Plaintiff was still edible, after the loss from cargo damage incurred by Company A was offset, Plaintiff was found to have no claimable damages, thus the Decision ruled against the Plaintiff.