United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea
- Type: Convention
- Date of signature: 31/03/1978
- Place of signature: Hamburg, Germany
- Depositary: Secretary-General of the United Nations
- Date of entry into force: 01/11/1992
What is it about?
This Convention applies to all contracts for the carriage of goods by sea between two different States, where the port of loading or the port of arrival is located in a country Party to the Convention. It establishes limits of liability of the carrier for loss or damage to goods to 835 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) per package, approximately 1,201.00 USD, or 2.5 SDRs per kilogram of gross weight of the goods lost or damaged, approximately 1.65 USD per pound, whichever is the higher. However, there is no liability limit if the carrier’s conduct shows intent to cause loss, damage or delay, or was reckless, knowing that such loss or damage would probably result. The rules apply to all cargo, including deck cargo and live animals and apply whether or not a bill of lading is used. The carrier bears the burden of proof to show that all reasonable measures were taken to avoid the occurrence of loss or damage to the goods in the carrier’s control.
Why is it relevant?
Also known as the Hamburg Rules, this instrument attempts to unify the rules related to carriage of goods by sea. In order to achieve this goal, this Convention was intended to replace the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading (Brussels, 25/08/1924), also known as the Hague Rules, by containing a clause in which Governments should renounce their membership to the Hague Rules. The weak adhesion to this instrument creates a dual regime of law concerning the carriage of goods by sea (led both by the Hamburg Rules and the Hague Rules), resulting in an on-going disunification of the international maritime law.
The major differences between the Hamburg Rules and the Hague Rules as amended by the 1968 Brussels Protocol, are the following: Hamburg Rules: Hague Rules, amended by the 1968 Brussels Protocol: . Applies to all contracts for the carriage of goods by sea between two States, except for chaterparties. . Applies to contracts for the carriage of goods by sea that are evidenced by a bill of lading. . Liability limit for loss or damage: 835 SDRs (approx. 1,210.00 USD) or 2.5 SDRs per kilogram (approx. 1.65 USD per pound), whichever is higher . Liability for loss of damage: 666.67 SDRs per package (approx. 970.00 USD) or 2 SDRs per kilogram (approx. 1.32 per pound), whichever is higher.
- International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Landing (Brussels, 25/08/1924)
- Protocol to amend the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading (Brussels, 23/02/1968).