G.R. No. L-28673, 23 October 1984, 132 SCRA 529
Samar Mining imported 1 crate optima welded wire (amounting to around USD 424 or PhP 1,700) from Germany, which was shipped on a vessel owned by Nordeutscher Lloyd (M/S Schwabenstein). The shipment was unloaded in Manila into a barge for transshipment to Davao under Bill of Lading No. 18.
Section 1, paragraph 3 of Bill of Lading No. 18.
The carrier shall not be liable in any capacity whatsoever for any delay, loss or damage occurring before the goods enter ship’s tackle to be loaded or after the goods leave ship’s tackle to be discharged, transshipped or forwarded.
Whenever the carrier or master may deem it advisable or in any case where the goods are placed at carrier’s disposal at or consigned to a point where the ship does not expect to load or discharge, the carrier or master may, without notice, forward the whole or any part of the goods before or after loading at the original port of shipment, … This carrier, in making arrangements for any transshipping or forwarding vessels or means of transportation not operated by this carrier shall be considered solely the forwarding agent of the shipper and without any other responsibility whatsoever even though the freight for the whole transport has been collected by him. … Pending or during forwarding or transshipping the carrier may store the goods ashore or afloat solely as agent of the shipper and at risk and expense of the goods and the carrier shall not be liable for detention nor responsible for the acts, neglect, delay or failure to act of anyone to whom the goods are entrusted or delivered for storage, handling or any service incidental thereto.
When the goods arrived in the port of Davao, it was delivered in good order and condition to the bonded warehouse of AMCYL but it was not delivered and received by Samar Mining Company, Inc.
Whether Nordeustscher Lloyd is liable for the loss of the goods as common carrier?
No. At the time of the loss of the goods, the character of possession of Nordeutscher Lloyd shifted from common carrier to agent of Samar Mining Co.
The Bill of Lading is serves both as a receipt of goods and is likewise the contract to transport and deliver the same as stipulated. It is a contract and is therefore the law between the parties. The Bill of Lading in question stipulated that Nordeutscher Lloyd only undertook to transport the goods in its vessel only up to the port of discharge from ship, which is Manila. The Bill of Lading further stipulated that the goods were to be transshipped by the carrier from Manila to the port of destination – Davao. By unloading the shipment in Manila and delivering the goods to the warehouse of AMCYL, the appellant was acting within the contractual stipulations contained in the Bill of Lading.
Article 1736 of the Civil Code relives the carrier of responsibility over the shipment as soon as the carrier makes actual or constructive delivery of the goods to the consignee or to the person who has a right to receive them.
Under the Civil Code provisions governing Agency, an agent can only be held liable in cases where his acts are attended by fraud, negligence, deceit or if there is a conflict of interest between him and the principal. Under the same law an agent is likewise liable if he appoints a substitute when he was not given the power to appoint one or otherwise appoints one that is notoriously incompetent or insolvent. These facts were not proven in the record.
*Case digest by Kharla Angelique B. Ko-Tubat, LLB-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019