Overcoming Contractual Challenges in International Freight Logistics

Overcoming Contractual Challenges in International Freight Logistics

Client Profile

At Claims Trans, we recently represented a small, yet resilient Bulgarian haulier company engaged in transporting goods throughout Western Europe. Their experience is emblematic of a broader trend where smaller logistics firms are often at a contractual disadvantage against larger counterparts. Our expertise in such cases was particularly relevant in 2023, handling multiple similar disputes effectively.

The Challenge

Our client entered into an exclusive agreement with a major German logistics company. However, the partnership encountered significant disruptions:

Unilateral Contract Alterations: Without our client’s consent, the German company drastically reduced the payment rates, severely affecting our client’s revenue.

Operational Hurdles: A crucial vehicle breakdown within our client’s fleet impeded their service provision.

Compounding these challenges, our client was compelled to terminate the contract. This action, however, led to punitive measures from the German firm, imposing penalties exceeding 10,000 EUR, with 6800.00 EUR attributed solely to the non-availability of the broken truck.

Our Intervention

Recognizing the injustice, Claims Trans undertook a comprehensive legal analysis. Despite our primary specialization in CMR cargo claims, our legal team is adept at offering stellar protection across various jurisdictions. In this case, we focused on the German Civil Code (BGB):

Article 275 of the BGB: We contended that the imposition of penalties for the inoperable truck was unlawful, as it was impossible for our client to fulfill these specific obligations.

Articles 313 & 314 of the BGB: The unilateral changes in payment terms warranted our client’s right to immediate contract termination, invalidating subsequent penalty claims.

Negotiation Strategy

Confronted with a large German logistics firm’s reluctance and contractual rigidity, our approach was multifaceted:

Persistent Advocacy: Twice-a-week communications to maintain pressure and visibility.

Tactical Escalation: Involving senior management and utilizing whistleblower channels to intensify scrutiny.

Unwavering Legal Stance: Repeatedly asserting our solid legal argumentation against dismissive tactics.

Settlement Adaptability: Demonstrating flexibility in negotiations to secure the best possible outcome for our client.

Impact and Lessons Learned

Our determined efforts culminated in a successful settlement, significantly reducing the penalty by over 70% and securing immediate payment release to our client, turning a potential loss into a gain of over 5000.00 EUR. Notably, even after accounting for our service fees, our client emerged with a net profit, illustrating the tangible value of expert legal intervention in such scenarios.

This case exemplifies a crucial lesson for smaller logistics companies: With specialized legal support, they can confidently challenge larger companies and protect their commercial interests. It underscores the power of informed legal strategy and relentless advocacy in leveling the playing field in international logistics.

Conclusion

This case not only fortified our client’s financial position but also set an important industry precedent. At Claims Trans, we pride ourselves on our unique blend of legal expertise in transport law and comprehensive industry understanding. Our approach goes beyond mere legal advocacy; we strive to protect and champion our clients’ commercial interests, ensuring they navigate the complexities of international logistics contracts with confidence and success regardless of the jurisdiction.

Unraveling Delay Damages: Claims Trans` Victory Over Gross Negligence in Logistics

Unraveling Delay Damages: Claims Trans` Victory Over Gross Negligence in Logistics

When a high-value shipment gets entangled in a web of deceit and delay, the situation may seem impossible to untangle. This was the predicament faced by a Bulgarian exporter of premium climbing walls when their logistics turned into a legal labyrinth. This case study explores how Claims Trans transformed what appeared to be an insurmountable challenge into a triumph of legal acumen and negotiation finesse.

 

The Challenge

Our client, an exporter, faced the daunting task of recovering substantial losses from a transport debacle involving multiple subcontractors and a mislaid trust in a major logistics company. With cargo held hostage, deadlines missed, and costs mounting, the scenario seemed bleak. The client’s hope for a favorable outcome was dim, as they braced for a substantial financial hit of 10,000 EUR due to additional travel, accommodation, and equipment rental costs.

At this point of escalation, Claims Trans stepped onto the scene.

 

The Art of Claiming Delay Damages

Under the shadow of Art. 23(5) of the CMR Convention, claiming damages for delay is notoriously challenging. This provision typically caps compensation at the carriage charge amount, a paltry sum compared to the potential losses faced by our client. However, Claims Trans refused to accept this limitation as the final word.

At Claims Trans, we knew the success of the legal statement hinged on the precision of our narrative and document preparation. This rigorous process was crucial, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the client’s world, fully comprehend the magnitude of the challenge, and effectively communicate the strategy and its chances of success.

Claims Trans’ Approach

Claims Trans, armed with a profound understanding of the CMR Convention, approached the case with a strategy anchored in leveraging Art. 29, a seldom-invoked and jurisprudentially scarce provision.

This article, a theoretical labyrinth rarely navigated with proficiency, often stands as a conundrum to insurers, logistics companies, and even seasoned lawyers. Its application is not just a matter of legal interpretation but requires a nuanced understanding that transcends theoretical knowledge into the realm of practical, actionable insight.

Our expertise allowed us to dissect the article, to extract a standard for triggering Art. 29 based on gross negligence, and to apply it with precision to the facts at hand. We translated the legal jargon into a language that resonated with the client’s commercial realities, outlining the possibilities and calculating the odds with them transparently.

This meticulous process did not merely shape our legal strategy; it shaped the narrative of the case, painting a clear and compelling picture of the logistics company’s glaring oversight and misconduct. Our narrative was fortified by a deep understanding of international legal precedents, which we leveraged to bolster our argument, making it not just persuasive but unassailable.

Navigating Negotiations

The Claims Trans team maintained an open line of constant communication, weighing each decision with precision and preparing diligently for negotiations. The lead claim analyst’s presence at meetings and the transparent appraisal of the logistics company’s stance provided the client with invaluable commercial insights. This strategic advisory role fortified our client’s trust, empowering them to make informed decisions throughout the process.

The Corporate Labyrinth

The pursuit of justice led us into the intricate hierarchy of the logistics behemoth, a multi-tiered structure designed to shield them from liability. Our team navigated this labyrinth with astute negotiation tactics, engaging with various levels of management and legal teams. This was not merely a test of legal knowledge but a battle of wits and endurance, where Claims Trans’ commitment to client advocacy shone brightest.

The Final Push

As the settlement discussions reached their zenith, Claims Trans’ legal acumen was put to the ultimate test against a seasoned lawyer from a major firm. Our specialized knowledge in transport law became the lever with which we pried the case in our favor, exposing the opposition’s lack of specialized knowledge and securing a significant settlement.

Successful Outcome

The persistence and expertise of Claims Trans culminated in a settlement that significantly exceeded the conventional limits of compensation for delay as dictated by the CMR Convention. The client, initially faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, received over 8500.00 EUR in compensation, effectively turning an “impossible” situation into a landmark victory.

 

Client’s Testimonial

High-value shipment gets delayed-Client testimonial

Conclusion

Through this case, Claims Trans has not only underscored its reputation as a preeminent transport law consultancy but has also set a new precedent in the application of Art. 29 of the CMR Convention. Our blend of legal mastery and commercial insight ensures that our clients’ interests are not just legally protected, but commercially vindicated, too. This case stands as a beacon of Claims Trans’ dedication to converting complex legal challenges into success stories.

Reclaim Your Profits: The Ultimate Solution for Recovering Unpaid Freights in the Transport Industry

Reclaim Your Profits: The Ultimate Solution for Recovering Unpaid Freights in the Transport Industry

CLAIM DEPOT

T

he last economic cycle led global trade to a significant increase causing the transport industry to experience unprecedented demand, propelling businesses to new heights. However, as the market stabilizes, transport companies now face a pressing challenge – the prevalence of unpaid freights. These unpaid invoices are stifling cash flow and hindering the growth of transport businesses. Fortunately, unpaid freights are a familiar for Clams Trans and in this article, we share some key principles to follow in order to swiftly recover your dues and keep your business on the fast track to success.

The Problem Unraveled🚚

As the transport market adjusts to decreasing global trade, unpaid freights have become a persistent headache for transport companies. These unresolved invoices disrupt cash flow, impede operations, and strain relationships with suppliers and employees. These challenges proved to be unsurmountable even for the big players, visible through Yellow [1] and Surge Transportation [2] ‘s recent bankruptcy filings. With decreasing demand and freight rates dropping [3], every transport company should possess a robust strategy can turn the tables in their favor.

The Manifestation of the Problem✒️

Unpaid freights manifest in various ways, causing significant hurdles for transport companies. Late payments create cash flow bottlenecks, making it challenging to meet expenses and invest in growth. This cycle often leads transport companies to delay their own invoice payments, further exacerbating the issue. The time for a proactive and decisive approach is now.

Experience and Expertise

At Claims Trans, we have walked the path with numerous transport companies, facing and overcoming the problem of unpaid freights. Our expertise extends to handling multiple cargo claims involving freight withholding and unlawful deductions in damage claims. We understand the intricacies of your industry, and this invaluable experience empowers us to deliver results like no other.

The Path to Success🧩

Wondering what sets apart the most successful transport companies when it comes to recovering unpaid freights? Here’s the secret formula that guarantees results:

1. Thoroughly Assess Financial Status: Our cutting-edge tools delve deep into public and private databases to assess the financial standing of potential clients. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll make informed decisions, minimizing risks of non-payment.

2. Issue an Official Voluntary Payment Invitation: Our expertly crafted and polite payment invitations, complete with interest accumulation, leave no room for misunderstanding. Your clients will understand the implications of non-payment without any friction.

3. Engage Legal Experts: Should the need arise, our legal team, well-versed in debt recovery and transport industry intricacies, steps in to navigate any complexities swiftly and efficiently. Regardless of the debtor’s country of origin, our multitude of successful lawsuits in numerous European states allows us to provide legal protection internationally.

4. Consistency is Key: With Claims Trans by your side, you’ll stay consistent in your efforts until the invoice is paid in full. We’ll maintain open lines of communication and handle necessary documentation promptly, reinforcing your commitment to getting what’s rightfully yours.

5. Explore Barter Arrangements: In situations where cash flow is a concern for the client, explore the possibility of accepting cheaper loads or goods in exchange for the outstanding amount. This arrangement can be mutually beneficial and maintain a positive business relationship.

6. Installment Plans: For clients facing financial challenges, offering installment plans can ease the burden of a lump-sum payment. Structuring a reasonable and structured installment plan demonstrates goodwill and the willingness to support your clients during challenging times.

The Conclusion🚀

Unpaid freights no longer have to be a stumbling block for your transport business. With our unparalleled expertise and successful track record, Claims Trans ensures your cash flow stays robust and your business thrives. We understand the challenges you face, having dealt with multiple cargo claims involving freight withholding and unlawful deductions. Let us be your strategic partner in the pursuit of recovering unpaid freights, so you can focus on what you do best – driving your business towards unparalleled success. Take the first step now and contact Claims Trans today to put your business back on the fast track to prosperity.

Bibliography:
[1] Reuters. (2023, July 31). Teamsters says U.S. trucking firm Yellow shuts operations, to file for bankruptcy. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/31/teamsters-says-us-trucking-firm-yellow-shuts-operations-to-file-for-bankruptcy.html
[2] Hawes, C. (2023, July 26). Surge Transportation blames bankruptcy filing on sales drop after e-commerce boom. FreightWaves. https://www.freightwaves.com/news/bankrupt-surge-transportation-unprepared-for-sales-drop-after-e-commerce-boom
[3] The European Road Freight Rate Benchmark Q1 2023. (2023) https://go.upply.com/en-gb/ti-upply-iru-european-road-freight-rates-benchmark-report-q1-2023

Social Dumping: Protection, Prevention, and Best Practice for Carriers

Social Dumping: Protection, Prevention, and Best Practice for Carriers

CLAIM DEPOT

T

he European Single Market provides carriers with various opportunities to grow and advance their business internationally. However, the access to this is contingent upon complying with sometimes strict guidelines and regulations. The latest version of the Mobility Package[1] from 2021 is the most recent iteration of such a formal guideline stemming from the European Union.

The most “popular” topic stemming from the Mobility Package are the mandatory rest times or the cabbotage rules. Indeed, the fines can be costly and it is often troublesome to navigate the abundance of rules and method of administration in each country. Luckily, there are methods to counteract the risks presented by fines during regular transports which many transport companies already benefit from[2].

Social Dumping📉

However, the much less known element of the Mobility Package – the anti-social dumping regulations often get underestimated in terms of its regulatory scope and its impact on transport companies operating in the European Single Market. The EU has a longstanding issue with what is known as “social dumping”.[3] This term refers to the practice of companies hiring workers from other countries within the EU in order to cut costs and gain a competitive advantage. Many transport companies employ this strategy not only for its financial benefits, but for the organizational ease of completing recurrent transports for regular clients.

The Posted Workers Directive✒️

The EU responded to this increasing trend through the Posted Workers Directive (2020) in an effort to provide more labor protection and equalize the competitive advantage for companies regardless of their country of registration. The directive extends the requirement for equal pay and working conditions to all workers, regardless of whether they are posted or not. It would also introduce stricter enforcement mechanisms and penalties for companies that violate the rules.[4]

The proposed mobility package has sparked controversy, with some arguing that it goes too far and could harm the free movement of workers within the EU. In particular, companies from the logistics industry have signaled that the new regulations have prompted hostile behavior by the host country’s administrative bodies in attempts to enforce the new rules.

The main issues for transport companies arise due to the Directive’s use of national collective bargain agreements as a benchmark for remuneration along with national social security rules. As such, the necessary compliance with these standards creates a significiant administrative burden on transport companies and puts companies at financial risk.

Solutions and Best Practice🧩

In all European countries, posted workers regulations are enforced by labor inspectors who have the power to investigate complaints and impose penalties on employers who violate these regulations. Employers who are found to be in violation of posted workers regulations may be required to pay back wages to the affected workers, and may also face fines or other penalties.

“Typical” destinations for posted drivers such as Belgium and the Netherlands require employers to register them with the national authorities and present workers with their written rights and obligations apart from providing the workers with the same working conditions and remuneration levels as the local workers. These are also the countries who have a prominent level of enforcement as certain legal battles have progressed to the highest levels of judicial remedy in the respective national Supreme Courts.[5] In doing so, the rules and details for posting workers have been further defined and clarified through jurisprudence which transport companies can use in order to ensure compliance and prevent costs.

The different jurisdictions within the EU of course have various methods of administering this information through digital forms, written declarations and regulatory oversight with some countries like the Netherlands enjoying a fully digital and comprehensive portal for all of this administration.[6] However, every transport company can benefit from the following universal guidelines for compliance in order to protect themselves and prevent costly fines:

1. Check whether your company is actually “posting” workers

Different countries have a multitude of requirements which qualify workers as posted in a host country. These usually include the administrative information of the company itself, its main source of income, and most importantly, the structure of the labor contracts and labor descriptions offerred by the carrier. It is of paramount importance to check this as the conclusion of this check would change the requirements for the company itself with regard to its drivers.

2.Research the national collective bargaining agreement for transport workers

Each country possesses guidelines and regulations for the working conditions and remunerations for workers in the transport industry with differring degrees of detail and scope. If your company is posting workers according to the abovementioned, it would be necessary to comply and match the guidelines from these agreements.

3.Provide information to the national authorities of the host-country

Before employing the labor of posted workers, it is important to communicate the structure of the labor in advance to the national authority, usually the Ministry of Labor/Social Security, through written communication or digital declaration.

The Conclusion🚀

As a general rule, to prevent violations and fines arising from non-compliance, it is crucial to maintain proper documentation and records. This includes keeping detailed records of posted workers’ contracts, pay, and working conditions. It is also important to regularly communicate with the host country to ensure compliance with the posted workers directive. By taking these steps, transport companies can prevent violations and protect the rights of their workers while still maintaining their comparative advantage in the increasingly competitive transport industry.

At Claims Trans, we have already contributed towards efforts for compliance and dispute settlement arising out of accusations brought in front of Bulgarian transport companies operating in the European Single Market. If you’d like to save time and resources dedicated to compliance, as well as to protect your company from costly fines, do not hesitate to contact us so that we can support you in navigating these regulations so that you can allow more time for the growth of your business.

Bibliography:
[1] European Union Mobility Package I, Mobility and Transport. Available at: https://transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-modes/road/mobility-package-i_en (Accessed: February 4, 2023).
[2] International Road Union. Driving and rest time rules –  the EU’s mobility package, IRU. Available at: https://www.irumobilitypackages.org/driving-and-rest-time-rules (Accessed: February 4, 2023).
[3] European parliament. Understanding social dumping in the European Union (no date) Think Tank | European Parliament. Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document/EPRS_BRI(2017)599353 (Accessed: February 4, 2023).
[4] Questions and answers on posting of Drivers Under Directive (EU) 2020/1057 Mobility and Transport. Available at: https://transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-modes/road/mobility-package-i/posting-rules/questions-and-answers-posting-drivers-under-directive-eu-20201057_en (Accessed: February 4, 2023).
[5] Emma van Kaemegem (2023) Are foreign employers who post workers to Belgium obliged to proceed with a Dimona obligation: What has the Belgian Supreme Court said (or rather not said)?, Altius. Available at: https://www.altius.com/en/news/are-foreign-employers-who-post-workers-to-belgium-obliged-to-proceed-with-a-dimona-obligation-what-has-the-belgian-supreme-court-said-or-rather-not-said/ (Accessed: February 4, 2023).
[6] Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid (2022) Notifying online, Posted Workers. Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid. Available at: https://english.postedworkers.nl/online-notification-portal (Accessed: February 4, 2023).