The Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (Rotterdam Rules) was adopted in December 2008 by the UN General Assembly. It will significantly increase the liability of shipowners and maritime carriers in respect of the carriage of cargo.
The Convention is designed to legislate both for international maritime carriage of goods, and for international multimodal carriage of goods where there is a maritime leg in the contract of carriage. It is often therefore described as a “maritime plus” instrument. This broad scope of application is reflected in the new terminology used in the Convention, such as, for example, a change from “bills of lading” and “sea waybills” to the general term “transport document”.
Voluntarily incorporating the provisions of the Rotterdam Rules into your contracts could increase liability and risk incurring liabilities that would not arise under conventional arrangements. Such increases in liabilities may require additional insurance cover.
The effects of voluntary increases in potential liability are described in the Club’s Rule 2, Section 17, Proviso (a).
If you have any queries regarding the cover arrangements for potentially extended liabilities in respect of cargo you should call your usual underwriting contact in advance of any contractual arrangements being concluded.
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