June 03, 2023

Cargo claim

navigating cargo claims at local vietnamese courts

Cargo is the driving force of the whole shipping sector, as the trading of goods by sea carriage dating to the founding days of shipping history. And until now, carriage of goods by sea has never ceased to be one of the most effective methods for global trading and commercial activities.

Unfortunately, along with the benefit and effectiveness, the risk of cargo dispute, of loss and damage of goods, or of title to the cargo is present and threatening to all parties of carriage, as an inherent part of the shipping world.

Thus, as the world of shipping sees an unprecedent growing rate, cargo claims now represent one of the largest categories of disputes both in number and in value. From our experience, we have dealt with all types of contracts such as carriage contracts, logistics services contracts, sale contracts, etc.

A cargo claim is essentially a demand for compensation in respect of cargo damage, cargo loss, contamination, shortage as well as other financial loss sustained during the carriage of cargoes from a shipper to a consignee. Both international and Vietnamese operators and insurers working in the cargo, logistics, and transport industries have long trusted our lawyers when it comes to dealing with their issues, from basic contracts to damage disbursements.

In addition, in specific cases such as cargo carried by sea, virtually all such cargo is carried under certain forms of contracts setting out the rights and obligations of the parties. There are several forms of such contracts, like for instance voyage charterparties, bills of lading, waybills, and contracts of affreightment, each with unique features. However, basic obligations of the carrier on any voyage are virtually similar in most jurisdictions, regardless of the terms of the contract.

Litigation at Vietnamese court related to cargo claims

navigating cargo claims at local vietnamese courts

Regarding the resolution of the cargo claim, there are several ways to resolve a dispute such as negotiation, mediation, or even initiating a lawsuit petition to arbitration or a competent court. In this article, we will focus on the litigation at Vietnamese court related to cargo claims.

Jurisdiction for resolving cargo claims differs from case to case, mostly depending on the type of carriage contract and nationality of the parties. If one of the disputing parties is a Vietnamese entity, it is likely that the claimant may refer to Vietnamese court to resolve his disputes.

During the litigation at Vietnamese court, necessary documents that may need to be prepared are quite different, depending on your position when participating in a legal proceeding at a local court. However, regardless of your position, all parties will have to provide Vietnamese court with the several main legal documents, such as business registered certificate, ID card, or passport of the legal representative of claimants/respondents and other documents related to your company identity, along with your statements to the local court.

Besides, the documents will have to meet the formal conditions which are regulated in Vietnamese law. Especially, the documents will need to be in certified form or original form, if it is in a foreign language then they will have to be translated into Vietnamese and notarized and legalized by competent authority before being submitted to local court.

The litigation in Vietnam is quite complicated and mostly depends on the viewpoint of the handling judge when considering the relevant matter in connection with the case. Nevertheless, Vietnamese law regulates basic stages that the parties may join when participating in litigation proceedings in the territory of Vietnam.

  • Firstly, the claimant will have to file a statement of claim and relevant necessary evidence for the dispute.
  • Secondly, the court will consider accepting the statement of claim and requesting the claimant to pay an advanced court fee before the 1st notice on case acceptance is issued.
  • Thirdly, the respondent will have to submit submission of his opinion or a counterclaim (if any) within a regulated period from the date of receipt of this notice.
  • Fourthly, the court will consider the opinion and evidence of all parties and decide to hold a preliminary meeting and relevant further meetings for conciliation and disclosing evidence. After that, subject to the result of the meetings, the court will decide to open a trial/hearing, terminate the proceedings or temporarily stay of proceedings.
  • Finally, after the hearing, the first-instance judgement will be issued. In case a party does not agree with the first-instance judgment, he might submit an appeal and trigger the appeal proceedings afterward.

Moreover, unlike the theory, in practice, the litigation proceedings often take a long time to follow until the parties reach the result. Furthermore, without guidance and assistance from the right local lawyers, the disputing parties may face many troubles with the local practice of Vietnamese courts in these case, or due to unfamiliarity with the required procedures and documents.

Throughout the past two years, we have been offering our services to all parties of the dispute, including cargo interests, forwarders, carriers and their underwriters in resolving cargo claims in Vietnamese local courts with competency, precision and effectiveness. Not only are the disputes, handled and assisted by us, resolved, but also in a timely and cost-effective manner.

With our well-experienced and highly qualified lawyers, we aim to provide support, advice and guidance for all parties in cargo disputes to overcome the deadlock, gain recovery and presume business. With our hearts and minds, we hope to offer the best service and help businesses flourishing in the sea transport sector and promote the growth of global economy.

For assistance to resolve cargo claims at local Vietnamese court, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:


Mr. Dang Viet Anh


T: +84 28 5416 5873

M +84 983 467070

Ms. Nguyen Thanh Phuong


T +84 28 541 65873

M +84 35 460 0988