Lotus Tours Ltd v China Marine Investiment Co Ltd

Court:District Court (Hong Kong)
Judgement Number:DCCJ2500/1970
Judgment Date:20 Nov 1970
DCCJ002500/1970 LOTUS TOURS LTD v. CHINA MARINE INVESTIMENT CO LTD

DCCJ002500/1970

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF HONG KONG

HOLDEN AT VICTORIA

CIVIL JURISDICTION

ACTION NO. 2500 OF 1970

BETWEEN
LOTUS TOURS LIMITED Plaintiff
AND
CHINA MARINE INVESTIMENT COMPANY, LIMITED Defendant

Coram: D. Cons, District Judge

Date of Judgment: 20 November 1970

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JUDGMENT

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1. The business of the plaintiff company appears to be more extensive than its name would on the face of it suggest. Amongst other things it is concerned with the shipment of goods by air, for which purpose it maintains an air-freight division presided over by the manager, Mr. Mak Chi Kin, the plaintiff's only witness at the trial.

2. On the 26th of March this year Mr. Mak was requested by a member of the defendant company's staff to ship by United Burma Airways certain marine spare-parts to one of the company's vessels then lying in need thereof at Chittagong. Ex. 1 contains such of that request as was reduced to writing and signed on behalf of the defendant company. The following morning the plaintiff company despatched a lorry and staff to pick up the spare-parts, intending to deliver them to Cathay Pacific Airways for onward transmission to their destination. Cathay Pacific Airways are, I understand, the handling agents for United Burma Airways at Kai Tak. Unfortunately the lorry despatched by the plaintiff company was too small for its intended purpose, forcing the defendant company to engage and pay other transporters. The aircraft onto which the goods were ultimately loaded took off from Kai Tak at 3.35 p.m. the same afternoon.

3. On the 1st April a Marine Engineer of the defendant company flew from Hong Kong to Chittagong, presumably to supervise the installation of the same spare-parts. He found, no doubt to his surprise, that they had not yet arrived. Indeed they did not arrive until some sixteen days later, making for them a total of nineteen days for a journey which even by sea can be accomplished in about ten to twelve days. It was an expensive delay for the defendant company which incurred demurrage charges of just over $12,000. In consequence the defendant company has since refused to pay the bill submitted by the plaintiff company, a bill mainly comprised of the air-freight charges which that company settled with the United Burma Airways.

4. It is not disputed by the plaintiff company that it was at all times the...

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