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Carboex S.A. v Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse S.A.

In a judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal on 19 June 2012, the court upheld the decision of Field J in respect of 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. The Court of Appeal 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. The court held that properly understood, the decision in Marwood was authority for the proposition that in order to obtain the protection of the strike clause the charterers must establish that the strike was the effective cause of the delay.

Charles Kimmins QC and Socrates Papadopoulos represented the successful charterers.