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October 28 2019

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60 The Journal of Commerce | October 28 2019 www.joc.com By Colin Barrett Q&A Q Miscommunication and misdelivery I was contracted to transport three cars from New Orleans to Jacksonville, Florida. They were to be delivered to the port and then Nigeria. Once units are loaded, I send a scanned copy — front and back — of the titles; once this is done the broker/ owner can do their paperwork to acquire a "dock receipt," which I need to enter the port and drop the units. For this customer, I sent the title copies by midday on Thursday, and I was scheduled to drop Friday morning when the port opened at 8 a.m. I had five units loaded, with four dropping at Jacksonville and one going to Savannah, Georgia, 130 miles north. At 7:39 a.m. Friday, I had one dock receipt from my single-unit customer and none from the three-unit cus- tomer. Aer I called several phone numbers on the dispatch sheet, emailing and texting with no response, he texted me at 8:59 a.m. I explained I needed the dock receipts and that due to the schedule, I had to leave by 11 a.m. or I'd lose loads and be out of time. I also said I needed to be paid before I unloaded, seeing as it was so difficult to get hold of him. He agreed and asked that I send a cash app request to a number he provided. No payment was sent. I stayed on him about the urgency of the time. At 10 a.m., he asked that I take them to an off-site location. I agreed, but said I couldn't drive to the other side of town without being paid first. I was now in a long line of trucks waiting to drop the one unit that I did have the proper papers for. Once I was in the port and dropping that unit, he sent me what I needed for two of the three units, but the guys at the port said I had to exit and go to the rear of the line of trucks again until I had the paperwork, and seeing as I hadn't already taken the papers for the other two I'd have to wait to unload them as well. They were about to break for lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m. and would close. It was 11:50 a.m. at this point. I had no choice but to head to my Savannah drop, taking these units with me. When I was on the interstate, he finally sent what I needed to drop, but I advised him I was out of time. I almost wasn't able to drop in Savannah also. I was fighting the clock as far as DOT hours-of-service were concerned, as well. I advised the customer that if I had to take the cars with me, I would have to charge him the mileage difference and any storage involved. I also said I'd need to be paid for all charges before I would leave my home in Memphis, Tennessee, with his units. I was finally paid the original $1,000 six days later (it was supposed to be cash-on-delivery). I advised that they owed an additional $2,500 and $30 per day per unit. They have yet to pay and have responded very little. The broker eventually texted saying he could pay an additional $1,000, and I agreed to get the issue resolved, but he never sent the money and hasn't responded since. I'm at a loss about what to do or what my rights are here. A YOU'RE PROBABLY IN trouble here, unless you have either a tariff or some contract announcing the penalty charges you're trying to assess, which I rather doubt. You did a few things wrong. First, your timetable was pretty tight, especially with a holiday weekend approaching (people do take time off, hadn't you heard?). And you should have gone to the off-site loca- tion, even without advance payment, charging (if your tariff/contract allows) a reconsignment fee, instead of heading off to Savannah with the cars. I know you were pressed for time, but that wasn't your shipper's concern. Meanwhile, you still have the three undelivered cars. You have a lien on the freight for your proper charges, but you'll have a tough time enforcing that lien without a tariff/contract to back it up, and you've already been paid what was originally agreed. I'd suggest you hire a lawyer to threaten your shipper with exercise of that lien, in hopes of getting him to disburse some money. It's an empty threat, but he may not know that. Otherwise, I'm afraid you're probably stuck and will have to make another run to finish the delivery. JOC Consultant, author, and educator Colin Barrett is president of Barrett Transportation Consultants. Send your questions to him at 5201 Whippoorwill Lane, Johns Island, S.C. 29455, phone (843) 559-1277, e-mail BarrettTrn@aol.com. For compiled past columns and other transportation-related publications, visit www.lopress.com/bookshelf.pdf. You're probably in trouble here, unless you have either a tariff or some contract announcing the penalty charges you're trying to assess, which I rather doubt.

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