Monday, June 21, 2010

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit Corp.

Bill of lading: Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), which regulates bills of lading issued by ocean carriers engaged in foreign trade; because the Carmack Amendment does not apply to a shipment originating overseas under a single through bill of lading, the parties’ agreement to litigate these cases in Tokyo is binding; COGSA, which “K” Line and Union Pacific contend governs these cases, requires a carrier to issue to the cargo owner a bill containing specified terms. It does not limit the parties’ ability to adopt forum-selection clauses. It only applies to shipments from United States ports to foreign ports and vice versa, but permits parties to extend certain of its terms “by contract” to cover “the entire period in which the goods would be under a carrier’s responsibility, including a period of inland . . . transport.” Norfolk Southern R. Co. v. James N. Kirby, Pty Ltd., 543 U. S. 14, 29. The Carmack Amendment, on which respondents rely, requires a domestic rail carrier that “receives property for transportation under this part” to issue a bill of lading. 49 U. S. C. §11706(a). “This part” refers to the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB’s) jurisdiction over domestic rail transportation. See §10501(b). Carmack assigns liability for damage on the rail route to “receiving rail carriers” and “delivering rail carriers,” regardless of which carrier caused the damage. §11706(a). Its purpose is to relieve cargo owners “of the burden of searching out a particular negligent carrier from among the often numerous carriers handling an interstate shipment of goods.” Reider v. Thompson, 339 U. S. 113, 119. Thus, it constrains carriers’ ability to limit liability by contract, §11706(c), and limits the parties’ choice of venue to federal and state courts. §11706(d)(1).
In Kirby, as in these cases, an ocean shipping company issued a through bill of lading that extended COGSA’s terms to the inland segment, and the property was damaged during the inland rail portion. This Court held that the through bill’s terms governed under federal maritime law, notwithstanding contrary state laws, 543 U. S., at 23–27, explaining that “so long as a bill of lading requires substantial carriage of goods by sea, its purpose is to effectuate maritime commerce,” id., at 27, and adding that “applying state law . . . would undermine the uniformity of general maritime law,” id., at 28, and defeat COGSA’s apparent purpose “to facilitate efficient contracting in contracts for carriage by sea,” ibid. Here, as in Kirby, “K” Line issued through bills under COGSA, in maritime commerce, and extended its terms to the journey’s inland domestic segment.
The Carmack Amendment’s text, history, and purposes make clear that it does not require a different result. If the Carmack’s bill of lading requirement referred not to the initial carrier, but to any carrier “receiving” the property from another carrier, then every carrier during the shipment would have to issue its own separate bill. This would be contrary to Carmack’s purpose of making the receiving and delivering carriers liable under a single, initial bill for damage caused by any carrier within a single course of shipment. This conclusion is consistent with Mexican Light & Power Co. v. Texas Mexican R. Co., 331 U. S. 731, where the Court held that a bill of lading issued by a subsequent rail carrier when the “initial carrier” has issued a through bill is “void” unless it “represents the initiation of a new shipment,” id., at 733–734. And Reider, supra, is not to the contrary. There, absent a through bill of lading, the original journey from Argentina terminated at the port of New Orleans, and the first rail carrier in the United States was the receiving rail carrier for Carmack purposes. Id., at 117. Carmack’s second sentence establishes that it applies only to transport of property for which a receiving carrier is required to issue a bill of lading, regardless of whether that carrier actually issues such a bill. See §11706(a). Thus, Carmack applies only if the journey begins with a receiving rail carrier that had to issue a compliant bill of lading, not if the property is received at an overseas location under a through bill that covers transport into an inland location in this country. The initial carrier in that instance receives the property at the shipment’s point of origin for overseas multimodal import transport, not domestic rail transport. Carmack did not require “K” Line to issue bills of lading because “K” Line was not a receiving rail carrier. That it chose to use rail transport to complete one segment of the journey under its “essentially maritime” contracts, Kirby, supra, at 24, does not put it within Carmack’s reach. Union Pacific, which the cargo owners concede was a mere delivering carrier that did not have to issue its own Carmack bill of lading, was also not a receiving rail carrier under Carmack; Carmack’s statutory history supports this conclusion. None of its legislative versions—the original 1906 statute or the amended 1915, 1978, or 1995 ones—have applied to the inland domestic rail segment of an import shipment from overseas under a through bill (U. S. S. Ct., 21.06.10, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit Corp., J. Kennedy).

Bill of lading : loi sur le transport de biens par voie maritime, qui réglemente le bill of lading issu par les transporteurs maritimes engagés dans le commerce international. Exemple d'application. Explications relatives au régime des "through bills of lading", qui englobent le transport maritime et le transport sur terre (par exemple transport ferroviaire), de sorte que le régime juridique applicable est le même que si le transport était exclusivement maritime, pour autant toutefois que la part maritime soit prépondérante. Ainsi, une loi d'un état ne peut déroger au droit fédéral, cela pour assurer l'uniformité du droit maritime général. La règlementation découlant de l’Amendement Carmack ne s’applique que dans le cadre d’un transport par voie terrestre, lorsque le premier transporteur (à supposer que plusieurs transporteurs terrestres interviennent dans un transport en chaîne) est tenu d’émettre un bill of lading. Le but de l’Amendement Carmack est d’éviter, dans le transport terrestre, qu’un titulaire d’un droit sur une marchandise transportée et endommagée ne soit tenu de rechercher lequel au juste des transporteurs a causé le dommage. L’Amendement institue en effet une responsabilité solidaire des transporteurs terrestres aux deux extrémités de la chaîne de transport (le transporteur qui prend en charge et celui qui finalement délivre) vis-à-vis de celui dont la marchandise est endommagée durant le transport. Il découle donc de ce qui précède que cet Amendement ne s’applique pas dans les situations où la part maritime est prépondérante.

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