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Carboex S.A. v Louis Dreyfus

In a judgment handed down by the Commercial Court on 12 May 2011, Field J decided preliminary issues concerning the important question in the context of voyage charterparties of whether a strike exception to the running of laytime applies to stop laytime running (i) after the strike has ended; and (ii) where the vessel is delayed in berthing due to congestion that has arisen as a result of the strike. The dispute arose in the context of the widely used Amwelsh form of charterparty, and involved consideration of the decision of the House of Lords in Central Argentine Railway v. Marwood [1915] AC 981. Field J held that the laytime exception clause did apply to prevent laytime running both after the strike had ended, and where the vessel was delayed in getting into the berth by congestion, provided it could be shown that the delay was caused by the strike. He further held that insofar as any of their Lordships' judgments in Marwood provided to the contrary, they were obiter.

Charles Kimmins QC and Socrates Papadopoulos represented the successful charterers.