Trek and Bell Sports sue over cargo lost or damaged at sea

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — COVID-19, massive consumer demand and the war in Ukraine have disrupted the industry’s supply chain in recent years. Rough seas also played a role.

Bell Sports and Trek Bicycle are among companies suing shipping companies for lost or damaged containers caused by North Pacific storms in early 2021.

The Maersk Essen 051, a 366 meter long ship, lost more than 700 containers when it encountered heavy seas off Mexico on January 16, 2021. The ship was en route from Xiamen, China to Los Angeles. Trek is among more than 30 companies suing Maersk, the ship’s owner, and other related parties for lost or damaged cargo on the Essen.

Trek was part of a first lawsuit with joint plaintiff Formlabs Inc. filed against freight company Flexport in January 2022. That complaint sought $337,000 in damages. Trek’s share of the total is not specified in the court filings. The case will be consolidated with other related lawsuits naming Maersk, Flexport and other companies linked to the trip. Other plaintiffs include Sunbeam Products, Bob’s Discount Furniture and Skechers.

Among the containers lost or damaged were four containing a total of 8,200 boxes of Bell Sports helmets and accessories.

A month and a day after the Essen incident, the Maersk Eindhoven — also a 366-meter ship en route from Xiamen to Los Angeles — lost about 260 containers in a storm near Japan. Other containers were damaged.

According to Bell’s lawsuit, among the damaged containers from Eindhoven were four containing a total of 8,200 boxes of Bell Sports helmets and accessories. Bell and his insurer, AGCS Marine Insurance Company, are among at least 17 companies suing Maersk and others over the loss. Bell’s complaint, filed in February 2022, says $256,000 worth of products were lost.

Other plaintiffs in this lawsuit are Homegoods, Hallmark Cards, Wolverine World Wide and Ashley Furniture.

A Vista Outdoor spokesman declined to comment to BRAIN about the suit. A statement from the company earlier this year mentioned the incident. The announcement said Vista Outdoor shopping Department quickly used an insurance payout after the damage to charter a plane and fly replacement products to the United States, said, citing David Stokoe, Vista Outdoor’s vice president of strategic procurement.

BRAIN could not reach Maersk regarding the suits. Maersk’s press office told in February that such lawsuits are “a very common tool in the maritime sector” to assert claims for damages.

The years 2020-2021 were particularly eventful for Maersk and the transpacific shipping industry as 3,113 containers were lost at sea according to the World Shipping Council. Only 779 containers were lost in the previous two years. The council said containers lost between 2020 and 2021 accounted for less than one-thousandth of 1% (0.001%) of all containers shipped.

More lost along the way

In another more recent lawsuit alleging lost or damaged goods in transit, Trek and its insurance companies filed a lawsuit with Lloyds in October against the Union Pacific Railroad Company and others alleging damage to a bicycle shipment from Vietnam to Butler, Iowa, via the Port of Long Beach, California.

Court records don’t say if the shipment was damaged at sea or after it left Long Beach, but the lawsuit says the damage totaled $96,000; Trek wants to recover the $25,000 deductible on its insurance policy from Lloyds, and Lloyds wants to recover the balance.
The lawsuit was filed Oct. 11 in the US District Court for Southern California. Union Pacific and its co-defendants have not responded to the lawsuit in court filings. You have until November 17 to do so. A Trek spokesperson did not respond to BRAIN inquiries about this article.


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