United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Hamburg, Germany
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 01/11/1992

Category

Transport and telecommunications

Sub category

Maritime transport

Groups

UNCITRAL

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.

Additional Information

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).

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Country ratifications
CountryRatification date
Albania20/07/2006
Austria29/07/1993
Barbados02/02/1981
Botswana16/02/1988
Burkina Faso14/08/1989
Burundi04/09/1998
Cameroon21/10/1993
Chile09/07/1982
Czech Republic23/06/1995
Dominican Republic28/09/2007
Egypt23/04/1979
Gambia07/02/1996
Georgia21/03/1996
Guinea23/01/1991
Hungary05/07/1984
Jordan10/05/2001
Kazakhstan18/06/2008
Kenya31/07/1989
Lebanon04/04/1983
Lesotho26/10/1989
Liberia16/09/2005
Malawi18/03/1991
Morocco12/06/1981
Nigeria07/11/1988
Paraguay19/07/2005
Romania07/01/1982
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines12/09/2000
Senegal17/03/1986
Sierra Leone07/10/1988
Syrian Arab Republic16/10/2002
Tunisia15/09/1980
Uganda06/07/1979
United Republic of Tanzania24/07/1979
Zambia07/10/1991
Treaties analysis
YearRatifications
19793
19801
19812
19822
19831
19841
19861
19883
19893
19913
19932
19951
19962
19981
20001
20011
20021
20052
20061
20071
20081
Total34
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