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G.R. No.


October 15, 2015

Commercial Law; Transportation Law; Arrastre operator. The arrastre
operator's principal work is that of handling cargo, so that its
drivers/operators or employees should observe the standards and measures
necessary to prevent losses and damage to shipments under its custody. In
the performance of its obligations, an arrastre operator should observe the
same degree of diligence as that required of a common carrier and a
warehouseman. Being the custodian of the goods discharged from a vessel,
an arrastre operator's duty is to take good care of the goods and to tum
them over to the party entitled to their possession.
Same; same; same. In instances when the consignee claims any loss, the
burden of proof is on the arrastre operator to show that it complied with the
obligation to deliver the goods and that the losses were not due to its
negligence or that of its employees.
FACTS: The petitioner is an arrastre operator. A shipment of kraft linear
board from US to be delivered to San Miguel Corp in Manila, was made on
board M/V Nicole owned by the Transocean, a foreign corporation whose
Philippine representative is Philippine Transmarine. Upon arrival and
shortly thereafter, the said linear boards were offloaded from the vessel to
the arrastre petitioner. However, upon assessment, 158 rolls of the goods
were reported to be damaged during shipping. Further, upon withdrawal to
the arrastre to be delivered first to San Miguel’s broker Dynamic and later
on to consignee San Miguel, another 54 rolls of board were reported to be
damaged. The respondent Allied, being the insurer of the goods, paid San
Miguel of the damage and later on seek reimbursement against Transocean,
Philippine Transmarine, Dynamic and petitioner for the lost suffered in
paying the consignee San Miguel by filing a Complaint in RTC Makati. It
alleged that from the port of origin, the goods were in good condition and it
was merely damaged due to the negligence of the abovementioned
defendants. However, petitioner denied the allegations contending that the
goods are already in bad condition when they deliver it to the broker and
consignee and assailed exercise of due diligence in the taking care of the
said goods. The RTC however ruled in favor of Allied and found all the
defendants liable for losses. Upon appeal, the CA affirmed the decision of
the RTC. Hence, this appeal made only by the petitioner. Petitioner claims
that the CA erroneously failed to note the so-called Tum Over Survey of Bad
Order Cargoes and the Requests for Bad Order Survey which supposedly

It is a finding of fact of the lower court which the SC will not disturb. And it must prove more than a fact that other parties might be liable for the losses but it must prove that it itself exercised due care in handling thereof. While the RTC could not conclude with pinpoint accuracy who among the ATI and Dynamic caused which particular damage and in what proportion or quantity. it was unblemished that both ATI and Dynamic failed to discharge the burden of proving that damage on the 54 rolls did not occur during their custody. none of those exists in this case. The petitioner wanted the Court to reexamine the decisions and evidences presented before the RTC and CA who have the same ruling which is not allowed by law. therefore. The RTC correctly held that the broker. The trial court correctly gave little credence to the said reports since between the arrastre operator and the consignee exist a relationship similar to that of a warehouseman and a depositor. Dynamic. cannot alone be held liable for the additional 54 rolls of damaged goods since such damage happened (a) while the goods were in the custody of the arrastre petitioner. that it complied with the obligation to deliver the goods and that the losses were not due to its negligence or that of its employees. (b) when they were in transition from petitioner's custody to that of Dynamic.could release it from liability for the damaged shipment. The reports were apparently made prior to the shipment's turnover from petitioner to Dynamic and they purportedly show that no additional loss or damage happened while the shipment was in petitioner's custody as the reports only mention the 158 rolls that were damaged during shipping or prior to petitioner’s possession hence not liable to the additional 54 damaged rolls. In its operations. . the arrastre operator must observe the same degree of diligence of that required of a common carrier and a warehouseman. except upon the existence of exceptions allowed. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner shall be held liable for the losses sustained by respondent. Both the arrastre and the carrier are. However. It was proven that during petitioner’s custody and while it will transfer the goods to the broker. and (c) during Dynamic's custody. charged with and responsible to deliver the goods in good condition to the consignee. HELD: AFFIRMATIVE. There is no misapprehension of facts nor the evidences presented by the petitioner such as the Tum Over Survey of Bad Order Cargoes and the Requests for Bad Order Survey. The relationship between the consignee and the common carrier is similar to that of the consignee and the arrastre operator. there was a use of wrong lifting equipment thereby deliberating the cause of such damage.

solidary liability for such loss shall be imposed. storage and delivery of the subject shipment to San Miguel thereby resulting in the loss of 54 rolls of kraft linear board.As established. . there was negligence in both petitioner and Dynamic's performance of their duties in the handling.