Shepherd and Wedderburn

UK 200 2013 position: 71

GAFTA Contract 49: interpretation of the buyer’s right to extend the delivery period

By John MacKenzie

The English High Court has recently been asked to consider the meaning of clause 8 of GAFTA Contract 49, which gives the buyer the ability to extend the period of delivery by up to 21 days. This article looks at the implications of the decision in this case.

In Nidera BV v Venus International Free Zone for Trading & Marine Services SAE, the delivery period for a cargo of Ukrainian corn ran from 16–31 October 2010. The buyer’s vessel arrived and tendered a notice of readiness (NOR) in advance of the contractual delivery period, but due to an export restriction on various cereal products and a quota for corn export the vessel was unable to berth for loading.

On 29 October 2010, the buyer served notice and claimed an extension of the delivery period to allow them time to nominate a substitute vessel. On 2 November 2010, the sellers sought to terminate the contract under clause 13 of GAFTA 49, which provides that in the case of any executive or legislative act restricting the export of goods, the contract is cancelled. On 5 November 2010, the buyers cancelled the contract due to the seller’s repudiatory breach in wrongfully terminating the contract…

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