Can you help? One of our smaller suppliers has got into a mess. Here is a short summary of what is an error-strewn scenario. It involves the movement of goods from China to Ireland. The contract with the company in China specified Incoterms® rule FCA (Free Carrier — named point in supplier’s country). This was quoted to the customer in Ireland, but the Irish party asked for a CIF rule (Cost Insurance & Freight) quote — and, in two separate replies, mentioned it was CIF. Our friends replied that it was FCA. No order acknowledgement was raised, there was no confirmation from Ireland that FCA was acceptable and no terms and conditions were issued for the movement. The goods were incorrectly handled on loading in China, because they tried to double-stack when loading two containers. Our customer’s container slipped and the drums inside moved. The shipping line accepted responsibility for this and re-loaded, but said everything was alright with the consignment and had pictures to show the drums were undamaged. The freight arrived in Ireland and some of the clasps on the drums were open. Ireland rejected the shipment. Our customer said it was Ireland’s risk, but they maintained it was not. Our customer has not been paid. They have no title clause in the contract or statement of governing law in case of dispute.

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