and such delivery will discharge the carrier of his responsibility.' The common-law did not permit less nor require more in the way of delivery than the usage or law of the port dictated'. (Emphasis supplied.)
Both libellant and respondent introduced testimony in an effort to prove a custom in the Port of Baltimore with respect to the delivery of refrigerated cargo and the obligation to protect it after its discharge from the carrier. This testimony was most contradictory and unsatisfactory, and failed to persuade us of the existence in the Port of Baltimore of any generally recognized custom or usage in such regard.
We conclude that the question comes down to one of due care -- or the want thereof -- on the part of the carrier. In North American Smelting Co. v. Moller S.S. Co., supra, the question presented was whether the carrier exercised due care in leaving unguarded part of a shipment of scrap metal after its discharge onto the pier. The Court said (204 F.2d 384, 386):
'There is no doubt that in discharging the cargo onto the pier and notifying the consignee the carrier was no longer in possession of the goods so as to suffer the risk of loss not due to any negligence on its part * * *.
'We think the real and only issue in this case gets down to the question whether the appellee exercised reasonable care in placing the goods on the pier, notifying the consignee and then, after a portion of the goods had been removed, leaving them without a guard until they were finally taken away in a truck furnished by the consignee.'
While the Court ruled that the carrier was free of negligence, it is implicit in the Court's reasoning that the carrier was under the duty to protect the cargo until the consignee had a reasonable opportunity to remove it from the wharf.
Speaking of negligence, the Court stated: 'The general test is, of course, the conduct of a reasonable man under the circumstances, and in that test the value of the interest to be protected and the risk of harm are elements to be considered'. It has also been said that the test of negligence is whether the wrongdoer could have anticipated and foreseen the likelihood of harm to the injured person, resulting from his act. Dahlstrom v. Shrum, 1951, 368 Pa. 423, 425, 84 A.2d 289. Applying these tests to the circumstances in this case, we think the only reasonable inference is that respondent was negligent in failing to place libellant's goods in a refrigerated space after discharging them from the vessel. Respondent knew, of course, that the goods were 'reefer' cargo and was aware of the congestion in the Port of Baltimore owing to the diversion of cargo from Philadelphia. The consequent delay in effecting clearance through customs was either known to or foreseeable by respondent. It was readily foreseeable, in these circumstances, that shipments might remain on the pier for days, exposed to normal temperature variations, with resulting deterioration in the case of perishable goods. We are persuaded that respondents' failure to provide against these contingencies constituted negligence.
Libellant's testimony on the question of damages was uncontradicted. One item of the damages claimed was the sum of $ 300, representing the charges for storing the goods in Philadelphia for a year in an effort to 'harden' the roots sufficiently to meet market requirements. We are persuaded that twelve months was an unreasonable period and that six months was an ample period for this purpose, and the damages claimed are reduced pro tanto.
Conclusions of Law
1. The Court has jurisdiction of the parties and the subject matter.
2. Respondent was not negligent in giving libellant notice of the intended diversion of libellant's cargo from the Port of Philadelphia to the Port Baltimore.
3. Respondent was negligent in failing to place libellant's cargo under refrigeration after discharging it onto the pier in the Port of Baltimore.
4. Libellant in entitled to judgment against respondent in the sum of $ 4,520, with interest thereon from November 15, 1954, and the costs of this proceeding.
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