AG Tanchev delivered today his opinion in case C‑88/17 (Zurich Insurance plc, Metso Minerals Oy v Abnormal Load Services (International) Limited), which is about Brussels I and, more precisely, international jurisdiction in respect of a claim for contractual damages in a context entailing the multimodal transport of goods from one Member State to another.
« 7. Abnormal Load Services (International) Ltd (‘ALS’), the defendant in the main proceedings, is a British haulier with its seat in the United Kingdom.
8. In July 2008, ALS concluded a contract for the carriage of goods with Metso Minerals Oy (‘Metso’), a Finnish manufacturer of equipment for the mining and construction industries. A cylindroconical crusher was to be transported from Pori in Finland to Sheffield in the United Kingdom. The crusher was insured by Zurich Insurance plc (‘Zurich’). Both Metso and Zurich are the plaintiffs in the main proceedings.
9. ALS, with the help of subcontractors, transported the crusher as follows. It was first transported from Pori to Rauma in Finland by a lorry with a low loader. At Rauma, it was unloaded from the lorry and driven on to a ship under its own power. After transport by sea to the United Kingdom, the crusher was again driven under its own power off the ship (6) in the port of Hull and loaded onto another lorry. As Metso’s consignee did not have sufficient or adequate storage capacity, it asked a sub-contractor of ALS to drive the crusher to its own warehouse and keep it there temporarily for a couple of days. However, the crusher was stored there for a longer period, (7) and disappeared before it could be delivered to the consignee in Sheffield.
10. Zurich compensated Metso for the value of the crusher, less the excess.
11. On 30 September 2009, Zurich and Metso claimed before the Satakunnan käräjäoikeus (District Court, Satakunta, Finland) that ALS should be ordered to pay them damages in an amount equivalent to the value of the crusher ».
The international jurisdiction of the Finnish Courts is debated.
Opinion of the AG: “The place or places where the service is provided, for the purpose of the second indent of Article 5(1)(b) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, in a case involving a contract for the carriage of goods between Member States in which the goods are conveyed in several stages and by different means of transport include the place of dispatch”.