Cargo, Commodities, and Logistics

We specialize in . . .

IMG is a leading provider of legal services to companies engaged in cargo transport.  We provide tailored legal services to the global trading community and our clients include carriers, shippers, freight forwarders, NVOCCs, haulers, financial institutions, and insurers. We have the necessary expertise in dispute resolution in cargo cases as well as in all other aspects of international trade, including the carriage of goods, bills of lading, commodities contracts, the sale of goods, import/export obligations, letters of credit, freight agreements, insurance bonds, guarantees, escrow and trust arrangements, carriage of goods, contracts of affreightment, regulatory issues and sanctions.

Contract Review and Drafting -

We frequently edit, draft, and negotiate various types of transportation agreements for our clients. As a relatively compact firm, we are able to offer transactional advice across the entire range of international business transactions, thereby allowing us to deliver outstanding legal and commercial results for our clients in a practical and cost-effective way.  Whether it’s a bill of lading, carter party, purchase and sale agreement, or letter of credit, IMG attorneys can answer your legal questions quickly and efficiently. 

Arbitration and Litigation -

 When cargo claims turn contentious, we represent clients in international arbitrations around the world, under many different laws, as well as in litigation before U.S. courts at all levels.  We also we work alongside all the different parties that may be involved in a cargo operations, including carriers, shippers, insurers, financial institutions, freight forwarders, and NVOCCs, governments, and other local interests. IMG not only helps carriers and shippers respond to cargo claims, but we also can advise clients on how best to tender their claims, claims calculation, and claims budgeting with their underwriters. Indeed, our experience in contentious cross-border litigation and arbitration gives us the insight to advise our clients through the complex issues that can accompany large and sophisticated disputes and transactions - regardless of the location. 

IsaakHurst

R. Isaak Hurst, Esq.

Founder and Principal Attorney

  • 24/7 Emergency Response for Carriers and Shippers
  • Cargo Loss and Damage Claims
  • Transactional Expertise, Guidance, and Support
  • Arbitration and Litigation 
  • Cargo Insurance Evaluation and Recommendations
  • In Rem actions and Vessel Arrests 

or call (206) 707-8338
to speak to someone today.

How We Can Help

Bills of Lading

IMG assists both carriers and cargo owners in preparing transport and freight contracts, and IMG regularly advises clients on the drafting and review of bills of lading, way bills, and electronic bills of lading.  We also advise our clients on the nuances of BL law in charter party agreements, and we have been involved with all types of cargo contracts: from general and bulk oil and grain, through to containerized carriage, and specialist cargoes such as LNG.  In addition, IMG offers a full range of litigation and arbitration services for our clients with cargo damage claims. 

Cargo Shippers - International Maritime Group
Incoterms

Incoterms

In addition to having a thorough understanding of trade transactions and the nuances of the supply chain, we are specialists in the international sale of goods and the Incoterms that largely govern them.  This uniquely enables us to draw upon our expertise and knowledge across the spectrum and to support you, whether you’re a large entity, local company or business individual institution, in adapting to, embracing and understanding how to get the most out of this changing world.

Regulatory Guidence

Never in history has there been so much government and regulatory oversight in for companies engaged in the cross-boarder trade of goods and services. The rules governing international trade are complex and corporations often find themselves having to navigate through an intricate network of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements (as well as widely differing national laws and regulations).  However, we provide effective and practical solutions for complex regulatory issues that are international in nature and often times multi-jurisdictional. Indeed, it is our job to cut through the complexity and “legalese” in order to provide clear, precise and insightful answer to our clients. We balance the big picture with what our clients need to know, now.

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Project Cargo - International Maritime Group

Project Cargo -

IMG provides project cargo services to clients worldwide. If it’s overweight, oversized, and extremely high value, our legal team has the experience and knowledge to expertly handle the legal and regulatory complexities of your shipment—regardless of the location.

Our legal team will work with you and your staff to help assess your statutory and contractual liability associated with your shipment. We will also negotiate the best deal possible for you with freight forwarders and carriers in order to limit any liability associated with the project. The result is complex projects are handled on- time and on budget, and more importantly without any legal exposure.

IMG is a Proud Supporter of the Customs, Brokers & International Freight Forwarders Association, the United Shippers Alliance, North American Shippers Association, the World Trade Center Alaska, and the World Trade Center Washington

Frequently Asked Questions

The 1893 US Harter Act still applies by statute to cargo shipped under a bill of
lading between two or more US ports, and between a US port and a non-US
port. In practice, however, the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COSGA) is the law that governs cargo being shipped to and from U.S. ports.  Indeed, most carriers involved in US trade include a US clause paramount or similar provision in the bill of lading to extend COGSA beyond the loading to discharge period because of the favorable terms it provides carriers. As such, the Harter Act is almost always replaced by COGSA.

COGSA limits a carrier's liability for cargo loss or damage to $500 per-package or, if the goods are not shipped in packages, per customary freight unit. For the US$500
package limitation to apply, however, the shipper must have been given sufficient notice of the limitation and a fair opportunity to opt out of it by declaring a higher
value for the cargo in exchange for paying a higher freight rate.  As a result, there has been a substantial amount of litigation concerning the circumstances under which a carrier may limit its liability to $500 per package or per customary freight unit, which is why this is one of the most litigated issues related to ocean cargo.  

A Himalaya Clause is term used to refer to any clause in an ocean contract of affreightment which extends the carrier's limitation of liability to stevedores and terminal operators performing services on behalf of the carrier. For example, COGSA, under its own terms, applies only to shipments to or from foreign ports, and does not apply to the periods before loading and after discharge.  Carriers, however, can extend the benefits of COSGA by including a “clause paramount” provision which extends the application of COGSA to shipments between wholly domestic ports and covers shipments of livestock and cargo stowed on deck that otherwise would not be within the scope of COGSA. The provisions and benefits of COGSA may also be extended to stevedores, freight handlers, and other agents of the ocean carrier by provisions of the bill of lading frequently referred to as “Himalaya clauses.” With that, a Himalaya Clause is term used to refer to any clause in an ocean contract of affreightment which extends the carrier's limitation of liability to stevedores and terminal operators performing services on behalf of the carrier. The name of the clause is derived from a vessel of the same name, Himalaya, involved in a court's ruling that carrier's could narrowly assign certain limitations.

Arbitration clauses in Bills of Lading are generally enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.  There are, however, several exceptions to this rule.  The most common exceptions are when a party can demonstrate the arbitration would be prejudicial, non-exclusive, or cost prohibitive.  

With certain exceptions, a lawsuit for cargo damage or loss must be filed within one year after delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered.  This one-year time period, however, is much shorter than the period of time for lawsuits that are typically brought for breach of a written contract or for a tort. Either way, cargo lawsuits that are not filed timely will be time barred. 

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