w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



M/s. Caravel Shipping Services Pvt. Ltd. v/s M/s. Premier Sea Foods Exim Pvt. Ltd.


Company & Directors' Information:- PREMIER LIMITED [Active] CIN = L34103PN1944PLC020842

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA PREMIER SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U55101DL2012PTC243659

Company & Directors' Information:- PREMIER SERVICES LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U60221MH1998PLC301788

Company & Directors' Information:- PREMIER SERVICES LIMITED [Active] CIN = U60221WB1998PLC086796

Company & Directors' Information:- J R J SEA FOODS INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U05000TN2010PTC078220

Company & Directors' Information:- R P M EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2009PTC195207

Company & Directors' Information:- SEA FOODS PVT. LTD. [Active] CIN = U05005WB1992PTC055076

Company & Directors' Information:- J V EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U14200TG2010PTC067063

Company & Directors' Information:- K S EXIM LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1995PLC074045

Company & Directors' Information:- K G N EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51900MH2010PTC264406

Company & Directors' Information:- U 2 EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U25200TG2010PTC066982

Company & Directors' Information:- Z. A EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999WB2012PTC183461

Company & Directors' Information:- V S EXIM PVT LTD [Amalgamated] CIN = U51311UP1997PTC076606

Company & Directors' Information:- D V S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900DL2004PTC128123

Company & Directors' Information:- M M P EXIM PVT LIMITED [Active] CIN = U28991WB1983PTC095268

Company & Directors' Information:- B S SEA FOODS PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U05004WB1992PTC057308

Company & Directors' Information:- Z. A. SEA FOODS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15124WB2008PTC128678

Company & Directors' Information:- R K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1995PTC071364

Company & Directors' Information:- EXIM (INDIA) LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1995PLC070740

Company & Directors' Information:- D B C SHIPPING SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U61200TN2014PTC096389

Company & Directors' Information:- SEA SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U28999GJ1990PTC013498

Company & Directors' Information:- G & J EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U50102DL2007PTC169367

Company & Directors' Information:- E T A EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51101TN1996PTC034616

Company & Directors' Information:- R K J EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51900WB2007PTC119321

Company & Directors' Information:- C AND M EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC126083

Company & Directors' Information:- D P I EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2005PTC143489

Company & Directors' Information:- G B EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51100GJ2005PTC045544

Company & Directors' Information:- H. P. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U27101WB2007PTC112590

Company & Directors' Information:- T. J. EXIM (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52300GJ2012PTC071691

Company & Directors' Information:- S N G EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1995PTC074301

Company & Directors' Information:- R. J. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909WB2009PTC137761

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA SEA FOODS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U01122WB1995PTC068234

Company & Directors' Information:- R B EXIM PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51492WB1995PTC067840

Company & Directors' Information:- A J EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U02001AS1996PTC004667

Company & Directors' Information:- H & J EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51311DL2001PTC112618

Company & Directors' Information:- G S D EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51900MH1998PTC116197

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA SEA FOODS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15122KL1993PTC007265

Company & Directors' Information:- R N R L EXIM INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109KA2011PTC061767

Company & Directors' Information:- J K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51220PB2004PTC027596

Company & Directors' Information:- H S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51311DL2004PTC127349

Company & Directors' Information:- A & P EXIM PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U51909WB1992PTC057075

Company & Directors' Information:- A V S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31909WB2008PTC127990

Company & Directors' Information:- C C S EXIM LTD [Active] CIN = U51109WB1991PLC053443

Company & Directors' Information:- S R K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2005PTC138414

Company & Directors' Information:- C K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909WB1997PTC085918

Company & Directors' Information:- G R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51211CH1996PTC018140

Company & Directors' Information:- N P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC129051

Company & Directors' Information:- S K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51225PB1998PTC021359

Company & Directors' Information:- Y M EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51102GJ2012PTC072811

Company & Directors' Information:- A T A EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2006PTC145762

Company & Directors' Information:- L. K. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U51109WB2007PTC120374

Company & Directors' Information:- S P M EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC129487

Company & Directors' Information:- PREMIER EXIM SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24132MP1992PTC007155

Company & Directors' Information:- A AND G EXIM INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1994PTC061465

Company & Directors' Information:- L R SEA FOODS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909AP2020PTC115529

Company & Directors' Information:- P. G. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52190MH2009PTC191193

Company & Directors' Information:- S. F. EXIM INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900MH2007PTC171249

Company & Directors' Information:- T K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109WB1999PTC089365

Company & Directors' Information:- V. C. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U45201RJ1994PTC008463

Company & Directors' Information:- M V EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52397DL2008PTC184882

Company & Directors' Information:- S M H EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51900DL2007PTC170420

Company & Directors' Information:- V S K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2008PTC175077

Company & Directors' Information:- R S SEA FOODS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U05004WB1994PTC064427

Company & Directors' Information:- A.N.D. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U52190WB2011PTC169252

Company & Directors' Information:- PREMIER INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52520TG1993PTC016684

Company & Directors' Information:- G D B EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909WB1999PTC090046

Company & Directors' Information:- S B EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1995PTC073197

Company & Directors' Information:- B D S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909WB2011PTC159658

Company & Directors' Information:- J B EXIM (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909WB1998PTC087127

Company & Directors' Information:- K N EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909GJ2004PTC044276

Company & Directors' Information:- N M EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U18109DL2009PTC195873

Company & Directors' Information:- H V EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2003PTC122398

Company & Directors' Information:- S G EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC129127

Company & Directors' Information:- U J EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2009PTC192554

Company & Directors' Information:- 4 R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U17301MP2009PTC022424

Company & Directors' Information:- A V G SHIPPING SERVICES PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U63090TN1988PTC016284

Company & Directors' Information:- B R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2007PTC163136

Company & Directors' Information:- K M EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2012PTC239357

Company & Directors' Information:- D K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U20296WB2014PTC202247

Company & Directors' Information:- A.T. INDIA EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909PY2000PTC001549

Company & Directors' Information:- G AND G EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51225PB2000PTC023259

Company & Directors' Information:- H D EXIM (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900UP2010PTC040942

Company & Directors' Information:- S P A EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U18101DL2003PTC119280

Company & Directors' Information:- B J Z EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999GJ2016PTC092167

Company & Directors' Information:- J C EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51311WB2003PTC096436

Company & Directors' Information:- J P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1994PTC062028

Company & Directors' Information:- O & H SHIPPING SERVICES (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U63090TN2003PTC050406

Company & Directors' Information:- J M EXIM PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51109WB1992PTC055587

Company & Directors' Information:- N N R EXIM INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51420TZ2005PTC011748

Company & Directors' Information:- S P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909PB1997PTC019506

Company & Directors' Information:- H K SHIPPING SERVICES PVT LTD [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U61200GJ1972PTC002112

Company & Directors' Information:- A V R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1991PTC046756

Company & Directors' Information:- H. K. EXIM INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U52100DL2007PTC170129

Company & Directors' Information:- C R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U99999MH2006PTC158967

Company & Directors' Information:- R H EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U51900MH1998PTC117572

Company & Directors' Information:- S S V EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74120UP2010PTC040597

Company & Directors' Information:- L. B. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72900WB2010PTC152603

Company & Directors' Information:- G L EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909CT2005PTC017499

Company & Directors' Information:- I J EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U00000DL2000PTC108953

Company & Directors' Information:- A N F EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2001PTC113309

Company & Directors' Information:- V G EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U18101CH1997PTC019811

Company & Directors' Information:- R M G EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U99999DL1998PTC092135

Company & Directors' Information:- D R G EXIM INDIA LIMITED. [Strike Off] CIN = U52599DL2006PLC152498

Company & Directors' Information:- S L S EXIM (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909AP2005PTC048413

Company & Directors' Information:- S. M. SEA FOODS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15499TN1987PTC014715

Company & Directors' Information:- K S J FOODS AND SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15410MH1981PTC024235

Company & Directors' Information:- R S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51396KA2004PTC034559

Company & Directors' Information:- O N EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1988PTC031981

Company & Directors' Information:- B S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC128881

Company & Directors' Information:- T & L EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45100DL2013PTC260491

Company & Directors' Information:- T & L EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52100DL2013PTC260491

Company & Directors' Information:- A R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U72100CH1996PTC019154

Company & Directors' Information:- G K S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909TN2005PTC057833

Company & Directors' Information:- U V EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51220PB2003PTC026463

Company & Directors' Information:- H L EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U17290RJ2014PTC045693

Company & Directors' Information:- K D N EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909RJ2012PTC038242

Company & Directors' Information:- Y S P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74992RJ2004PTC019058

Company & Directors' Information:- R M K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U17200MH2013PTC243910

Company & Directors' Information:- F J EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74900MH2013PTC251509

Company & Directors' Information:- G. N. S. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74900PN2011PTC140730

Company & Directors' Information:- J K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909MH2001PTC134066

Company & Directors' Information:- R K A EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999MH2013PTC244805

Company & Directors' Information:- P R S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909TN2011PTC083496

Company & Directors' Information:- C R K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909TG2008PTC061083

Company & Directors' Information:- D P EXIM PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51909WB1993PTC059406

Company & Directors' Information:- A R B R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U51500DL2006PTC155685

Company & Directors' Information:- O P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2003PTC120270

Company & Directors' Information:- D S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2003PTC120239

Company & Directors' Information:- A M K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2003PTC121512

Company & Directors' Information:- P P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC128116

Company & Directors' Information:- D G EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC128167

Company & Directors' Information:- K P S Y EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC126626

Company & Directors' Information:- N A EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2004PTC129533

Company & Directors' Information:- S B A EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2005PTC135649

Company & Directors' Information:- V M S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2005PTC135687

Company & Directors' Information:- B N EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2005PTC136444

Company & Directors' Information:- B A R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2005PTC144081

Company & Directors' Information:- A T EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2006PTC146640

Company & Directors' Information:- A D S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2006PTC147637

Company & Directors' Information:- C & C EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909DL2012PTC234606

Company & Directors' Information:- J M SHIPPING SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999DL2004PTC130520

Company & Directors' Information:- P C EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999DL2007PTC160589

Company & Directors' Information:- K D P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999DL2011PTC226764

Company & Directors' Information:- B B EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999DL2011PTC227113

Company & Directors' Information:- R. F. EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999DL2012PTC238655

Company & Directors' Information:- M S G EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999DL2015PTC279504

Company & Directors' Information:- B B EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72100DL2011PTC227113

Company & Directors' Information:- V J P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51103DL2013PTC249207

Company & Directors' Information:- D D B EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51109DL2006PTC146448

Company & Directors' Information:- M L EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109DL2008PTC176344

Company & Directors' Information:- U R EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51311DL2002PTC114346

Company & Directors' Information:- A G K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51311DL2004PTC124678

Company & Directors' Information:- S R H EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51311DL2004PTC127188

Company & Directors' Information:- A TO Z EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1995PTC074559

Company & Directors' Information:- A K EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U74899DL1998PTC093546

Company & Directors' Information:- M T D EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL2005PTC144165

Company & Directors' Information:- I K A I EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U52322DL2006PTC154441

Company & Directors' Information:- V I P EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74140KA1995PTC018740

Company & Directors' Information:- R K M EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909HR2012PTC047999

Company & Directors' Information:- A G G EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909KA2011PTC057976

Company & Directors' Information:- K R SEA FOODS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15400GJ1993PTC019708

Company & Directors' Information:- R B INDIA EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U51300KL2013PTC033154

Company & Directors' Information:- D J S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U52190GJ2010PTC061888

Company & Directors' Information:- C S EXIM PRIVATE LIMITED [Not available for efiling] CIN = U99999DL2006PTC431397

Company & Directors' Information:- SEA INDIA LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U99999MH1949PLC007943

    OP(C).No. 522 of 2013 (O)

    Decided On, 08 September 2015

    At, High Court of Kerala

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE SUNIL THOMAS

    For the Petitioner: P. Gopakumaran Nair, C.S. Dias, N.K. Subramanian, Advocates. For the Respondent: V.M. Kurian, Mathew B. Kurian, K.T. Thomas, N. Sunil, Advocates.



Judgment Text

Sunil Thomas, J.

1. The defendant in O.S.9/2009 on the file of Sub Court, Kochi, impugns Ext.P5 order in IA 486/2009, by which the court below rejected the request of the defendant to refer the dispute for arbitration under Sec.8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Herein after referred to as the Arbitration Act).

2. The plaintiff company had entrusted to the defendant, a carrier, 28,000 Kgs Cargo of frozen sea food, stuffed in a container, and covered by a bill dated 25.10.2008 for delivery at Port - Bandar Abbas, Tehran, Iran. The Cargo was shipped on board from Cochin Port on the same day. On 18th November 2008, it was informed by the office of the defendant that the Cargo container got damaged and part of the Cargo perished. Consequently, the proposed buyer refused to accept the consignment. Alleging that the plaintiff sustained loss due to default of defendant, a claim for USD 53959.80 with interest was set up, and after issuing a notice, the suit was instituted claiming Rs.26,53,593.00 with 11.5% interest. The defendant appeared and filed IA 486/2009 contending that the entrustment of cargo and its transportation were governed by Ext.P3 which was a Multimodal transport document, as provided under the Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993 (herein after referred as the "Multimodal Act"). Clause 25 of the document specifically contemplated settlement of disputes by arbitration and conciliation and the jurisdiction of Civil Courts stood ousted in view of Sec.26 of Multimodal Act. The plaintiff, in the counter affidavit disputed the above and contended that, Ext.P3 was only a unilateral receipt and was not a Multimodal transport document and there was no consensus ad-idem between the parties to enter into an agreement for arbitration. The court below negatived the contention of the defendant, holding that Ext.P3 was not a Multimodal Transport document and that Sec.26 of the Multimodal Act and the Arbitration Act have no application to the facts of the case. The above order is under challenge in this original petition.

3. Mr.C.S.Dias, the learned counsel for the defendant relied on Clause 25 of Ext.P3 to contend that the arbitration clause therein operated as a bar in instituting a Civil Suit for enforcement of rights arising therefrom. Clause 25 verbatim reads as follows:

"JURISDICTION/ARBITRATION: The contract evidenced by the Bill of Lading shall be governed by the Laws of India, and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Court in Chennai only. Dispute/Difference arising out of this contract and/or in connection with the interpretation of any of its clauses shall be settled by arbitration in India in accordance with the arbitration & conciliation at 1996. The No. Arbitrators shall be three, the Arbitrators shall be commercial persons. The venue for arbitration shall be Chennai."

4. The trend of argument of learned counsel was that the defendant was a Multimodal Transport Operator as defined under the Multimodal Act, having under taken a Multimodal transportation with the plaintiff evidenced by Ext.P3 Multimodal transport contract. By virtue of Clause 25 extracted above, plaintiffs are bound by the arbitration clause in the light of Sec.26 of the Multimodal Act. Mr.Thomas K.T., the learned counsel for the plaintiff contented that Ext.P3 was only a receipt evidencing a bill of lading, there was no consensus ad-idem in relation to terms of Ext.P3 and that it did not evidence a Multimodal contract.

5. To evaluate the above contentions, it is essential to refer to Sections 2(k), 2(l), 2(la), and 26 of the Multimodal Act. They are

S.2(k): "Multimodal tranportation" means carriage of goods, by at least two different modes of transport under a multimodal transport contract, from the place of acceptance of the goods in India to a place of delivery of the goods outside India;

S.2(l) "multimodal transport contract" means a contract under which a multimodal transport operator undertakes to perform or procure the performance of multimodal transportation against payment of freight;

S.2(la) "multimodal transport document" means a negotiable or non-negotiable document evidencing a multimodal transport contract and which can be replaced by electronic data interchange messages permitted by applicable law;

S.26 Arbitration - (1) The parties to a multimodal transport contract may provide therein that any dispute which may arise in relation to multimodal transportation under the provisions of this Act shall be referred to arbitration.

(2) The arbitration proceeding may be instituted at such place or in accordance with such procedure as may be specified in the multimodal transport document.

6. The learned counsel for the defendant contented that, Sec.26 above, permitted parties to enter into a clause of arbitration and accordingly they have voluntarily entered into Clause 25 of the Ext.P3. Hence parties are bound by the arbitration clause and consequently the suit was not sustainable. It was further contented that by virtue of clause 25, parties have voluntarily chosen the venue of arbitration proceedings as Chennai and that will prevail, notwithstanding the fact that no part of cause of action had arisen at Chennai. Another contention was that Sec.26(2) of Multimodal Act permitted parties to choose the venue of arbitration and the said legal provision is an exception to the general principle regarding Jurisdiction.

7. Per contra, the learned counsel for plaintiff contented that Ext.P3 was not a Multimodal contract at all. The premise was that a multimodal transport contract should involve undertaking of at least two different modes of transport, which was not involved in this case. The reply of the defendant was that the factory of the plaintiff was at Alapuzha and empty container was delivered to the consignor, who stuffed it at Alapuzha, transported by road to Cochin Port and there after transported by sea, to Port Bandar Abbas by vessel OEL Dubai V029. Admittedly, an empty container was delivered to the consignor, which is also seen endorsed in Ext.P3, against the column of container no. According to plaintiff, they themselves stuffed the container with goods. Thereafter, it was inspected by officials of State Live Stock, marine and agri products, and thereafter by Lloyds Agency, Kochi and both issued necessary certificates. It was thereafter handed over to defendants with all records. In para 12 of the plaint, the cause of action is stated to have arisen, when the plaintiff entrusted the container to the defendant for shipment at a place within the jurisdiction of the Kochi court. Evidently, the plaintiff had specifically pleaded that though the container was transported from Alapuzha , only the part of transportation by sea alone was undertaken by Ext.P3. This pleading is not denied by the defendant.

8. Ext.P3 shows that the column of Place of Receipt is blank. However, Port of loading is shown as Cochin and place of delivery as Bandar Abbas, Iran. The entries indicate that Cargo was shipped on board the vessel on 25th October 2008. There is absolutely no reference in Ext.P3 that either the container was entrusted at Alapuzha or that the freight charges included transportation from Alapuzha. Evidently, though the cargo moved both by road and by sea, the contract with defendant was for carriage of goods by sea alone.

9. The learned counsel for the plaintiff relying on authorities drew the attention to two terms "Shippers Load, Stow and Count" (SLAC) and "said to contain"(STC), seen in Ext.P3. The details of the container, the number of bundles, weight, measurement, the volume of the items stuffed etc. are seen recorded in Ext.P3, against the caption of SLAC and STC. The above terms conventionally used involves that in containerised cargoes, where the carrier/agents are not privy to the packing of containers and nature of cargo, the agent relies on the information provided by the shipper in terms of cargo, number of packages, weight and measurement. Such endorsement absolves the carrier of any claims relating to missing or damaged cargo that might be levied upon them by the shipper at a later stage. Hence the term "shippers Load Stow and Count " and "Said to Contain" are put on the bill of lading to protect the carrier from any claim that shipper might levy on them at a later stage. (Ref: Container Corporation of India Ltd. v. Priya Dyes and Chemicals [AIR 2013 Mad 85]). Viewed from this background, there is considerable force in the contention of the learned counsel that the endorsement of SLAC and STC on Ext.P3 proves, that stuffed container was entrusted at the Cochin Port, for shipment alone.

10. Under Section 2(l), to be a Multimodal transport contract, the Multimodal transport operator should undertake to perform or procure the performance of Multimodal transportation. Under S2(k) Multimodal transportation means carriage of goods, by at least two different modes of transport under a multimodal transport contract from the place of acceptance of goods in India to a place of delivery outside India. A co-joint reading of Section 2(k) and 2(l) undoubtedly shows shows that to be a Multimodal contract, the operator should undertake to transport by two modes. In other words, under the contract or by virtue of the contract, the transportation should involve two modes, from a place in India to a place of delivery outside India. The terms "two different modes of transport" found in Sec. 2(k) does not qualify "carriage of goods" but refer to multimodal transport contract. In the instant case, though the goods were transported by two modes, only one part, that is the carriage by sea, alone was covered by Ext.P3. Consequently Ext.P3 cannot be considered as a Multimodal transport contract.

11. It is true that Ext.P3 is captioned as a Multimodal Transport document/Bill of lading. From the nature of the Caption, it could either be a Multimodal transport contract or a bill of lading. However, for the reasons stated above, it could not be treated as a Multimodal transport contract. The learned counsel for plaintiff relied on the decision reported in Ellerman & Bucknall Steamship Co.Ltd. v. Sha Misrimal Bheraji [AIR 1966 SC 1892 to content that Ext.P3 satisfied the ingredients of a bill of lading. In Ellerman's case, the Honourable Supreme Court held that, "A bill of lading serves three purposes viz. (i) it is receipt for the goods shipped containing the terms on which they have been received; (ii) it is evidence of the contract for carriage of goods; and (iii) it is a document of title for the goods specified therein. The contract of the shipowners in the bill of lading is that they will deliver the goods at their destination "in the like good order and condition" in which they were when shipped"

Evidently, from the nature of Ext.P3, it satisfies all the ingredients of a bill of lading.'

12. Yet another contention of the plaintiff was that, Ext.P3 did not evidence a binding arbitration agreement. It was argued that it was not signed by the plaintiff and that there was no consensus ad-idem to enter into an agreement of arbitration. The learned counsel for the defendant, relying on Sections 2(b) and 7 of Arbitration Act and the authoritative pronouncements in Groupe Chimique Tunisien SA v. Southern Petrochemicals Industries Corporation Ltd. [2006) 5 SCC 275], and M/s. Oriental Fire & General Insurance Co. Ltd. And Another v. New Suraj Transport Co.(P) Ltd. [AIR 1985 All 136], Paragraph 32,) contended that it is not essential that the agreement should be signed by the parties, if the terms of the transaction discloses an intention to refer for arbitration and will be satisfied if the clause of arbitration on an invoice is brought to the notice of other party. It was argued by the learned counsel for the defendant that the entrustment of the goods subject to the terms and conditions laid in Ext.P3, and by accepting a copy of the Ext.P3, by the plaintiff, statutorily constituted the creation of a valid arbitration agreement. It was further contended that under Section 7 of the Multimodal Act, a statutory liability is cast on the Multimodal operator to issue the Multimodal agreement to the consignor and by complying with that statutory liability, parties have voluntarily entered into the agreement.

13. The above contention does not appear to be sustainable. Section 7 only enables a consignor who has entered into a contract for Multimodal transportation, to issue a multimodal document, at the option of the consignor. This presupposes entering into

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a contract for multimodal transportation. The term contract used in the definition of "Multimodal transport contract" and "Multimodal transport document" and in other parts of the Multimodal Act has not been specifically defined. Though by Section 29 of the Multimodal Act, it shall have overriding effect over all other enactments, not with standing anything contained in any other law, the term contract shall by necessary implication can only have the meaning and content of the term contract as defined under the Indian Contract Act, 1872. Hence all the essentials required for entering in a valid contract will be required for entering into a Multimodal contract. In the case at hand, apart from entering into an agreement relating to the essential terms for transportation of goods by sea and for the payment of freight charges, it does not appear that there was consensus ad-idem for entering into an arbitration agreement. There is nothing to show that Clause 25 was ever brought to the notice of plaintiff. Hence the contention of the defendant does not appear to be sustainable. In view of the above discussion, it is evident that there was no illegality or irregularity in the application of law, or exercise of jurisdiction by the court below warranting an interference under Article 227 of the constitution of India. Hence the original petition fails and is accordingly dismissed.
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