Major Barge Lines in Legal Disputes With NOLA-Area Export Grain Companies

This article has been reprinted from the Jan. 23 USDA Grain Transportation Report.

According to River Transport News (January 13, 2020 and December 16, 2019 editions), Ingram and American Commercial Barge Lines (ACBL), operators of two of the largest barges fleets, have filed lawsuits against operators of export grain elevators in the New Orleans (NOLA) region.

The plaintiffs seek to recover fees—for third-party services related to barge storage and movement within a port— incurred while delivering grain to the elevators.

The outcomes of the lawsuits could set important precedents regarding responsibility for third-party charges and whether terms in a bill of lading can be considered contractual.

Assignment of responsibility for fees and charges are part of a larger debate in transportation, such as the conversation around detention and demurrage charges in the rail and ocean arenas.