International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) says communication failings within shipbrokers’ organisations can result in important instructions from principals being overlooked, leading to potentially costly claims.
In the most recent issue of its Claims Review, ITIC cites an incident in which an off-duty member of a tanker broker’s operations staff received an individual phone and email message over the weekend from a colleague in a different office, asking for important instructions regarding the amount of cargo to be loaded to be passed on to a tanker owner. The operations person took no action, having wrongly assumed that the message had also been sent to the company’s general operations email address and that it would be dealt with by an on-duty colleague.
The message detailed a request by the charterer to change the discharge port rotation to avoid severe congestion at what was originally scheduled to be the first port of call. This revised rotation required a reduction in the vessel’s draft to enable it to discharge at what was now intended to be the first port of call. Because of the failure to pass on the message, however, the wrong quantity of cargo was loaded and there was no option but to remain with the original rotation. A significant amount of demurrage was subsequently incurred, which was passed on to the broker and ultimately reimbursed by ITIC.
ITIC says a large number of claims caused by messages not being forwarded involve communications between different offices of the same broking company. It urges brokers to ensure that they have systems in place to prevent such errors occurring in their business.