First Judgment on a Rail Bill of Lading by a Chinese Court

On 30 June 2020, the Liangjiang New District People’s Court, Chongqing issued a judgment regaring a legal proceedings over the ownership of goods.
In the case at hand, under the conditions agreed in a purchase contract between an importer (the Importer”) and a buyer (“the Buyer”), the goods -that was travelling to China- should have been deemed as delivered to the Buyer with the delivery by the Importer of the relevant Rail Bill of Lading. At delivery, the carrier refused to deliver the goods to the Buyer since the consignee was a the Importer (who still had to pay the freight in full).
The Court, in compliance with Property Law of the PRC -which allows that if the property of movable things is transferred, the buyer can demand for delivery of the goods purchased to any holder of the goods-, stated that the delivery of the Rail B/L by the Importer to the Buyer was a performance of the obligation of delivery of the goods in the framework of the purchase. Thus, the Court confirmed that the ownership of the goods had passed to the Buyer in consideration of the terms of the purchase contract.


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