Excessive bruising at destination.
The Key Point
Loading pallets over the rear axles is not considered abnormal transportation.
Ensure product will make good arrival under normal transportation conditions.
Q. We ship strawberries FOB out of California. We recently shipped four pallets of berries to the East Coast on an LTL truck. When the product arrived, it showed excessive bruising. While there appears to be no damage or compression to the boxes, we believe placement of the pallets directly over the rear axles caused a lot of vibration, which would explain all the bruising. Therefore, we believe our customer should file a carrier claim and not deduct from our invoice. Please advise.
A. Based on your scenario, we do not see sufficient basis for a carrier claim. While we recognize that certain pallet positions may put more stress on product than others, produce is routinely hauled over a truck’s rear axles.
Consequently, we would not consider merely transporting product over the rear axles to be an indication the carrier failed to use due care or that the transportation service provided was abnormal.
It must be remembered that both the shipper and carrier share responsibility for ensuring the truck is properly loaded. So, if you were concerned with the pallet positions, the time to address this would have been at shipping point.
Of course, a carrier could be found responsible for abnormal and excessive vibrations that damage product. But, in your scenario, we do not see a proper basis for concluding the vibrations in the back of this truck were excessive.
For example, you state in your question there is no evidence of compressed cartons; without such evidence, we do not believe a carrier claim here has been supported.