We were recently able to resolve a case for a client exporter whose goods suffered damage ex Los Angeles to Russia. The cargo had been purchased from Canada in the US, moved to LA, and carriage arranged on port House and OBLs. Both sets of transport documents, of course, bore the standard provision respecting the applicability of US COGSA to shipments from or to US ports.

The shipper was surprised to learn that US law regularly limits recover to USD$500.00/pkg, and the consignment, though valuable, had consisted of only two packages!

In the result, we were able to secure a settlement payment of ten times this figure without need for litigation – an excellent outcome in the circumstances. Nonetheless, shippers are reminded that such oppressive limitations are standard in the US and may become more widespread with the adoption of the Rotterdam Rules. At less than 1% value, cargo insurance is often the best investment an exporter can make!