• AllChem Industries Industrial v CMA CGM Florida (Vessel), 2015 FC 558
  • January 12, 2016 | Authors: Dionysios Rossi; Graham Walker
  • Law Firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Vancouver Office
  • The plaintiffs were the owners and persons interested in cargo on board the vessel "CMA CGM Florida" (the "Florida"). The Florida was involved in a collision at sea and the plaintiffs commenced a proceeding against the freight forwarders and common carriers that had been used to book the transportation of the various cargoes on the Florida, as well as against the vessel owners. They were seeking to recover losses arising from the alleged damage to the cargo due to the collision and to be indemnified for any general average or salvage contributions that they were compelled to make.

    In the present motion, one of the defendants, Topocean Consolidation Service Inc. ("Topocean"), had moved to contest service of the Statement of Claim. The plaintiffs had directed a process server to serve Topocean with the Statement of Claim at the premises of Manitoulin Global Forwarding ("Manitoulin"), a freight forwarding company. While Topocean admitted that it used Manitoulin as an "agent" for some of its Canadian shipments, it contested service on the basis that the Statement of Claim had not been served at its place of business and Manitoulin was not a “branch or agency” of Topocean, nor had it been used in connection with the transportation of the cargo in issue.

    Prothonotary Tabib held that Manitoulin carried on some integral part of Topocean's business in Canada and the fact that it was not acting in this capacity for the shipment in question did not detract from this connection. Further, Tabib P. found it relevant that Manitoulin had considered it its duty as an agent to forward the Statement of Claim to Topocean and that Topocean had publicly promoted itself on its website as a group of "owned and agent offices" that carried on business as "a network" worldwide, including at a specific address in Canada through the agency of Manitoulin. Given a lack of evidence to the contrary, Tabib P. concluded that Manitoulin was Topocean's agent in Canada and, therefore, service was validly effected.