The Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea aims to create a modern and uniform law concerning the international carriage of goods which include an international sea leg, but which is not limited to port-to-port carriage of goods. In addition to providing for modern door-to-door container transport, there are many innovative features contained in the draft Convention, including provisions allowing for electronic transport records, and other more technical features to fill the perceived gaps in existing transport regimes. Extensive negotiation by the Member States and observers of the Commission has resulted in overwhelming support for a significant increase to the limits on carrier liability for cargo loss or damage that apply in most countries. This is expected to be of substantial benefit for shippers, particularly those in developing and least-developed countries, which are consumers of transportation services. It is expected that harmonization and modernization of the legal regime in this area, which in many countries dates back to the 1920s or earlier, will lead to an overall reduction in transaction costs, increased predictability when problems are encountered, and greater commercial confidence when doing business internationally.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
UNCITRAL: Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea
On July 3, at the conclusion of its most recent session, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law approved the draft Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (not yet available online). The draft Convention will be presented to the U.N. General Assembly for conclusion during its sixty-third session later this year. It would effectively preempt the United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Hamburg Rules), which never gained widespread adherence, and the Hague-Visby Rules, which are outdated and were never uniformly adopted among major trading countries. (The United States didn't ratify the Hamburg Rules or the Visby amendments to the Hague Rules. The Carriage of Goods at Sea Act, enacted in 1936, codifies the original 1924 Hague Rules only.) The U.N. press release describes the Convention as follows: