United Nations Convention on the Liability of Operators of Transport Terminals in International Trade

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Vienna, Austria
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: N/A


Transport and telecommunications

Sub category

Multi modal transport



What is it about?

This Convention, adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), establishes a uniform legal system on the liability of operators of transport terminals resulting from loss of, damage to or delays in handing over goods. The liability of the operator is based on the principle of presumed fault or neglect. If the operator, his servants or agents can prove that they took all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the loss or damage, they can not be held accountable. The Convention determines two different limitations of liability according to the mode of transport. As a general rule, the compensation amounts to 8,33 units of account per kilogram of gross weight of the goods lost or damaged (about 12 $US), or 2,75 units of account (about 4 $US), if the goods are handed over to the operator immediately after carriage by sea or by inland waterways, or if they are handed over for such a transport. The operator is not entitled to the benefit of the limitation of liability provided for in this Convention if it is proven that the loss was caused intentionally or recklessly. Any action under this Convention is time-barred if judicial or arbitral proceedings have not been instituted within a period of two years.

Why is it relevant?

This Convention reduces the uncertainties due to different legal systems applicable to goods in international carriage by establishing uniform rules concerning liability for loss of, damage to or delay in handing over goods. Its provisions provide loaders and carriers with the possibility to obtain compensation from terminal operators; the latter benefit from the uniform rules through the limitation of compensation.

Additional Information

An explanatory note to the Convention elaborated by the UNCITRAL Secretary is annexed to the present instrument.


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