On 18 January 2017, a new European Regulation enters into force which makes it possible for creditors to freeze bank accounts of non-paying debtors in the whole European Union, with the exception of the United Kingdom and Denmark. It remains to be seen how this “European Account Preservation Order” will work out in practice, but in any event, it is a welcome addition to the procedural toolbox for cross-border debt recovery.

Smallegange Lawyers are pleased to announce that as per 1 January 2017, we welcome Willem Boonk as partner in our firm. Willem started his career as a lawyer in Rotterdam in October 2005. He joined Smallegange as a senior associate in May 2015.

Freight forwarding
The freight forwarder is at the heart of the (inter)national transport chain, a vital link between the shipper and the carrier. The freight forwarder enters into an forwarding agreement with its client (the shipper), where after it will enter into a contract of carriage with (inter alia) the carrier. If damage to the cargo would occur during the subsequent carriage the freight forwarder could remove itself from the equation regarding its client by issuing a ‘statement of forwarding agent’. The shipper can use that ‘statement of forwarding agent’ to go directly to the carrier to recover its damage/loss.

Anyone who visits the port every now and then will know them. Signs next to a gateway or along a quay pointing out 'entering this site is at your own risk' or, ‘the terminal is not liable for damage and / or injury ". It is obvious that such signs at least encourage vigilance. However, when for example during loading or unloading at a terminal a vessel or truck sustains damage the question rises whether the terminal by posting such signs can exclude its liability for such damage.

The Court of Rotterdam has recently rendered a, not (yet) published, judgment about the applicability of forwarding conditions. Normally, the forwarder invokes the forwarding conditions. In this case the principal relied on the forwarding conditions.

It follows from the jurisprudence that the relationship between a stevedore and a vessel is not always rosy. Dutch judges often had to consider a in which a vessel was damaged during loading or discharging.
The Owner (or his underwriter(s)) will subsequently hold the stevedore responsible in order to receive payment for the damage sustained by the vessel. Recently, a similar court case of the District Court of Rotterdam was published (District Court of Rotterdam 27 November 2013, S&S 2013, 86). In this matter the District Court had to examine the question whether a stevedore was liable for the damage sustained by an inland vessel.