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IMPORTANT SHIPPING CASE.

The case of the Otago Harbor Board v. the New Zealand Shipping Company, heard before Mr Carew yesterday, was brought to re«over Is per ton on 12f> tons of goods declared for transhipment ex Hurunui, on which the compnny had paid the harbor improvement rate of 2s per ton, but in respect to which the Board claimed the full rate of 3s per ton. The by-law under which the charges for transhipments are regulated is as follows: from vessel's side to any other Vessel for other ports shall be charged 2s per ton, measurement or weight, as per ship's manifest ; but all such goods must be declared for transhipment at the Board'B office within twenty-four hours after the arrival of the vessel by which tkey are imported, otherwise full import rates shall be payable." It will be remembered that recently an action had been brought by the Board to recover the 3s per ton in respect to some goods which had gone into the Board's sheds pending transhipment. The Magistrate in that case held that an unreasonable time had elapsed between the discharge of the goods and their transhipment, and gave judgment for the iJoard. In the present case 270 tons had been declared for transhipment. Of this quantity 136 tons had been put into the receiving vessels direct from the slings of the Hurunui. The balance of 114 tons was discharged on to the wharf to be taken by carts to the Invercargill, Brunner, and Beautiful Star, for iranshipment to their ports of destination. It was proved that Messrs Duthie and Co.'s carts took away the goods aa fast as possible, while the steamers were lying at the wharf. Some j thirty tons were, however, discharged' while the steamers were away, and those were put into the Btorage sheds. The company offered to pay for all Buch goods, and agreed to the quantity of forty-four tons instead of thirty. The seoretary of the Board wrote a letter declining this offer, and an action was brought to recover the full amount. The company paid 44s into Court. At the hearing Mr Sim appeared for the Board, and Mr Hoskiog for the company. Mr Mirams, the Board's bookkeeper, proved that he had rendered an account for 3s. On cross-examination he admitted he had debited the company with 3s at the outset, although there was a declaration of transhipment. This was done under instructions. J. L. Gillies, the secretary of the Board, produced the following correspondence between himself and the manager of the shipDine company:— y Dunedin, March 27, 1889. Manager N.Z. Shipping Company, Dunedin. Sir, -I had before the Board's Finance Committee yesterday your accounts fordoes outstanding, and they have been ordered to be laid before the Board for authority to place them in the DoHoitorß' hands for recovery. Xbe accounts are ex Ruapehu, Kaihoura, and Hurunui. I will be glad if you would put your objections speoifically in writ'Dg in eaoh case, <*B, for example, the latter does not stand in the same position as the two former, and I have no wish to do otherwise than place the matter fairly and fully before the Board. I would prefer giving your own letter.—Yours, etc., J. L. Gillies, Seoretary.

Duned ! n, March 28,1889. The Secretary Otago Harbor Boart, Dnnedin. Sir,—ln reply to your memo, of the 2/ th inst.,l have to say our rejsons for objecting to ray 3i per ton on transhipments are simply that your by-laws, as we read them, distinctly state that only 2s per ton will be charged. In the case of the Hurunui, whioh ship discharged her cargo at Dnnedin wharf, you have charged us 3s per ton on the whole of her tons. Of this quantity some forty tons were put in the Board s sheds, as they had to be discharged from the ship in or<l«r to facilitate the work, and no coastal steamer being at fcand, tne balance of the 270 tons were discharged in the usual way—either direct into the coastal Bteamer alongside, or for convenience sake placed on the whaif until the arrival of the coastal steamer. Ever since the Home ships have discharged their cargoes at Dnnedin, transhipments have been dealt with as above mentioned, and, until the present, you have been quite content; therefore, had you intended to ei>y further charge or put any fresh interpretation on that particular by-law, I submit you should havo g'ven us due notice. With reference to the steamships Ruapeliu and Kaikoura, whiph discharged their transhipments at Port Chalmers, I can only submit the same reason—viz , that we have been carrying out the custom of the six previous years. The transhipments of the above steamers were discharged into railway trucks, and, on the arrival pf coastal steamer, were shipppd to their destination. You will readily Bee that it is simply impossible to discbargu these transhipments direct from the "Home" steamer without intermediat; stage, when I tell you the Union Steam Ship Company will not take their steameis alongside ours, as the delay would be too great. The transhipments by these steamers are put into the trucks as soon as possible, in readiness for the coastal boat, and, at the same time, allows us to go on with the discharge of the local cargo.—l am, etc., W. B. Bdtd, Local Manager.

Dunedin, April 1,1889. Manager N.Z, Shipping Company. Sir, -Your favor of 28th Maroh ult. was laid before the Board at its meeting on same date, when the qu°stion of transhipment by law was fully discussed, and it was resolved to retain the by-law as printed, which reads as fol•'Goods imported and passed from vessel's side to any other vessel for other ports shall be charged 2s per ton, measurement or weight, as per ship's manifest; but all such goads must be declared for transhipment at the Board s office, within twenty-four hours after the arrival of the vessel by whiph they are imported, otherwise full import rates shall be payable." As I am at present advised, the whole of the 270 tons ex Hurunui were landed and passed over the Board's wharves, and a large portion through the Boards shed*, occupying the theds for days and some for weeks. They did not paw from vessel's side to another vess; 1, although ultimately they may have passed from the wharves and sheds to another vessel. With regard to giving notice, you appear to have overlooked the Boaids circular of 28th December nit., copy of whioh I enclose. In regard to tne Ruapehu and Kaikonra, I am inclined to yield the point, as the trucks are not provided by the Board to retain the goods for the coastal steamere, and therefore agree (without prejudice) to settle the disputed accounts on these terms.—Yours, e c, JoflN L. C illies, Secretary. Dunedin, April 3,1889. The Secretary Otago Harbor Board, Dunedin. Sir,—We are in receipt of your favor of the Ist inst., and note your remarks respecting the transhipments ex Ruapehu and Kaikoura at Port Chalmers. In reference to the Hornnni transhipments at Dunedin, you are Bomewhat in error in supposing that the whole of this ship's transhipments —270 tons—were landed and passed over the Board's wharves, and a large portion through the Board's shedß. These tfoods were treated as follows:-117 tons 19cwt 2qrs 271b were landed on the wharf. Of this quantity only some 38 tons wont tnrouKh tho Board « thedß. It appears to me the difference between us lies in the interpretation of the by-law No. 233. and I would suggest that the Resident Magistrate interpret that by-law for us.— Yours, etc., Wm. B. Boyd, Local Manager.

Otauo Harbor Board Office, Dunedin, May 20, 1889. Gentlemen,—The Harbor Board Collector informs me that you are not disposed to pay balance of account goods ex Hurunui, notwithstanding theieault of the test case agreed upon. Please inform me if you decline to pay, as it so the account will at once be put into the bands of the Board's solicitor, when the question of storage charge* will alto be dealt with.— Tours, e p., GltylEP, Secretary.

Dunedin, May 20,1889. The Secretary Otago Harbor Board. I •Sir -Your'favo* of even date duly to hand, and we much regret if you are put to any inconvenience in consequence of our refusing to pay 8j per ton on more than forty-four tons of transhipments e* Hurunui. • Our understanding of the result of the test pase referred to is that we are only liable for that amount. ~ . The Hurunui had 270 tons transhipments declared. Of thi* quantity 110 tons were put on the wharf, and of this forty-four tona were pliced in the Harbor Board's .hods; the'bulk of the balance of the cargo between the 44 tons and the 110 tons was carted straight from the ship s slings to the InVercargilf steamer at a cost of Is 9d per ton beyond the transhipment rate of Ration might be asked: Why discharge any portion of the transhipments on the wharf When this charge of Is 9d ppr ton is made ? the answer being To facilitate the discharge of the ship Vou well know vhat the consequences would be if we were to atop the discharge of

Dunedin cargo bscanse Timaru and Invercargill transhipments block the way. But if the Hatbor Board sees fit to levy 33 per ton on transhipments simply because they are landed on the wharf in order to diaeharge Dunedin cargo, I can see nothing for it but thatDunedin merchants must suffer the detention.—Yours, etc Wm. B. Eotd, Local Manager.

Dunedin, May 20,1869. Manager New Zsalund Shipping Company, Limited.

Sir,—Yours of even date with this does not state the facts as furnished by book entries made by the Board's crane driver at the time of landing. His diary shows seventy-five tons delivered to the Invercargill, and seventy tons delivered to the Kakanui, leaving 125 tons that were landed, but not removed for several days. His book will ba produced in Court, The Chairman instiuots me to hand over the account to the Board's solicitors, and iu doing so I have to remind you that the necessity for taking this striot line of procedure waa not a matter of choice on the part of the Board, but resulted from advantage being taken of the liberal interpretation put upon the by-laws as to transhipments by consignees and agents to avol I paying their fair share of the burdens of the port, and aa is generally the result in such cases, tho cure is now felt to be worse than tho disease sought to bo o. oaped from. In regard to delay spoken of, I do n-jt exactly gather the drift of your remark?, but I should say the delay would be more seriius to the ship than for the merchant, and prove to the ship more expensive than the slight difference in rates. The whole value of the increased rate only amounts over a whole year's shipping to L 340. Shipping firms, as well as the Harbor Board, will find it to their advantage in the long run to study the interests of the merchants, and that is what the Ha bar Board is endeavoring to do. Regretting such trouble over such a small item, after having agreed to stand by a test case—Yours, etc., John L Gillibs, Secretary.

Dunedin, May 21,1889. The Secretary Otago Harbor Board. Sir,—Your favor of the 20th inst. just to hand, and I am certainly astonished at the revelations of tho diary kept by the "Board's crane driver." Ho must, indeed, be an uncommonly clever man to be able to drive a crane while discharging a ship and at the same time be able to keep a correct tally of tho cargo. However, let him be what he may, we are prepared to prove that the information as rendered to us is not quite in accordance with facts.

Although you state in jour letter now under consideration "in regard to delay spoken of, I do not exactly gather the drift of your remarks," your following sentence certainly conveys the idea to my mind that you need no prompting from me. And I quite agree with you that the Harbor Board will find it to its advantage to study the interests of the merchants, and I would add of the shipping companies too; but if the raising of du«a on transhipments is part of the Board's endeavors in that direction, then all I can say hj that, in my opinion, shipping will be driven from the port instead of being dawn to it. With reference to the lest case, I am sure neither you nor anyone else understood it was to apply to a case where the facts were not the same —Yours, etc., Wm. B. Boyd, Local Manager. On cross-examination he said he was authorised by the chairman to bring the action. There was a minute of the Board in Marsh last authorising the chairman and the secretary to take proceedings in disputed actions and trivial claims. He held a general authority to sue under the seal of the Board. There was no specific resolution of the Board for this particular case. The man in charge of the Board's cranes was called to prove the quantity delivered on to the wharf. He, however, admitted that the quantities entered in the book he produced were estimated only. Mr Hosking moved for a nonsuit on the ground that the action had not been properly authorised by the Board. He contended that, assuming the common seal was not necessary, the Board could not delegate its functions involving discretion such as whether an action could be brought, and particularly could they not delegate them to a person not a. member o£ the T4oar<l—viz > the secretary ; and that in this case the Board had handed over its deliberative functions in a disputed case, while the minute of the same meeting showed that in two cases not disputed they had considered it necfssary themselves to order proceedings. M.r Sim having replied, His Worship said that the evidence of authority, though weak, was, he thought, sufficient.

Mr Hosking having opened the defendant's case, called witnesses to prove the quantities put on to the wharf, and that reasonable steps had been taken to reship the goods as soon as practicable. His Worship gave judgment for the amount paid into Court, with costs to the company, remarking that this by-law should bo construed so as to promote its intention, and that he did not consider it was necessary to pass the goods direct without touching the wharf, provided, as here, that they were discharged and taken with reasonable speed to the reshipping vessels lying there to receive them.

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Bibliographic details

IMPORTANT SHIPPING CASE., Issue 7918, 28 May 1889

Word Count
2,454

IMPORTANT SHIPPING CASE. Issue 7918, 28 May 1889

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