Cargo Claims – International Conventions and National Laws Relevant to Marine Cargo Claims

The LNM regulates, in articles 203 and following, the contract for the carriage of cargo. As for a carriage under a bill of lading regime (articles 246 and following LNM), the current regulation remains applicable, since what is outlined is already set out in the Hague-Visby Rules. This results in a unification of the regime of liability of the carrier, be it for national or international transport. It is worth noting that carriers’ legal liability regime in carriages under bills of lading is ius cogens and cannot be revoked by the parties (given the little negotiative capability for carriers operating under this form of transport), whereas the legal liability of carriers in the case of charterparties is revocable, since it is assumed that shipowners and charterparties share an equally strong negotiating position.

Bills of lading in electronic form are also referred to as the possibility of its issuance, if both shipper and carrier have agreed to it in writing before the uploading of the cargo onto the vessel is outlined (article 262 LNM). Similarly, the option of issuing maritime waybills is addressed, as article 268 LNM states that, although having the same evidential value as bills of lading, such bills, like any other nonnegotiable document, are not considered securities.

It is to be mentioned that Spain was the first country to ratify the United Convention on Contract for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (Rotterdam Rules).