Since many commodities are transported by sea, handling disputes relating to commodities sales contracts has been a natural outgrowth of our maritime practice.  A wide variety of issues can arise with in respect to commodities sales contracts, including quality disputes, financing problems and timeliness of performance, among others.  Over the years we have dealt with any number of  commodities cases, including disputes relating to off-specification coal, grain quality cases, claims for wrongful termination of sales contracts, letter of credit issues, force majeure issues,  the liquefaction of coal shipped by sea, price adjustments and supply-side problems.

With significant amounts of money involved in any commodities sale, we always work with our clients to explore whether  a prompt commercial solution can be achieved. If no commercial resolution is available, we litigate effectively to protect our clients’ interests. We have litigated such cases  in federal court, as well as before the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association and the Society of Maritime Arbitrators.

Representative Cases

  • Settlement of claims for breach of coal sales contract due to alleged off-specification coal, involving German sellers and Brazilian buyers.
  • Arbitration of a $30M dispute regarding breach of a long-term, multi-year LPG supply contract for product to be delivered in Mexico.
  • Arbitration of a $1M claim for wrongful termination of an ethanol sales contract, focusing primarily on whether the buyer had supplied a satisfactory letter of credit.
  • Arbitration/settlement of a $4M claim for breach of a coal sales contract, where the Australian seller claimed force majeure.
  • Arbitration/settlement of a $1M claim for breach of a coal sales contract, due to a Brazilian buyer’s refusal to accept alleged off-specification coal from Japanese sellers.
  • Arbitration of a grain quality dispute involving Canadian inspection standards and procedures.
  • Negotiation of multi-million dollar claims for alleged off-specification shipments of bulk rice delivered to Mexico.
  • Defending a $7M claim for off-specification coal.
  • Handling a case involving coal liquefaction during shipment.