Maybe you have ever found yourself in the unpleasant situation of having received some goods with delays, damages, etc. Depending on the way of transport that these goods are carried, claim deadlines and damage compensation limits may be different and it is very important to know them. We try to summarise.
In road transport, according to the CMR (Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road) the responsibility of the carrier is limited in the event of loss, damage or delay in delivery. In case of loss or damage, the consignee has very short deadlines to claim: 1 day from the reception of the goods, if the loss or breakdown is apparent, and 7 days after the reception, if the loss or breakdown is not apparent. The claim action prescribes in a year.
In case of loss, Art. 23 of the CMR Convention provides that the compensation shall be calculated by reference to the value of the goods at the place and time at which they were accepted for carriage. In any case, it can not exceed 8.3 units of account per kilogram of gross weight short.
In rail transport, regulated by the COTIF / CIM agreement (Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail), the railway will be obliged to pay the corresponding compensation in the event of loss, damage, fraud or gross negligence and exceeding the deadline. As in road transport, the claim period will be for apparent damages at the time of delivery of the merchandise and for non apparent damages upon delivery will be within the following seven days. The acceptance of the goods eliminates all action against the railroad. Claim actions are barred a year from the date of delivery or from the statement of loss. Compensation shall not exceed 17 units of account per kilogramme of gross mass short
In air transport, Article 22 of the Montreal Convention, the liability of the carrier in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay is limited to a sum of 17 Special Drawing Rights per kilogramme, unless the consignor has made, at the time when the package was handed over to the carrier, a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination and has paid a supplementary sum if the case so requires. In that case the carrier will be liable to pay a sum not exceeding the declared sum, unless it proves that the sum is greater than the consignor’s actual interest in delivery at destination. The deadlines that the receiver has to claim are to the delivery of the goods e in cases of obvious damages are within 14 days, from the delivery of the goods, if the damages are not obvious. And a period of 21 days from delivery, in the event of delay. The action of claim prescribes to the 2 years, not extensible, counted from the arrival of the goods.
In maritime transport (regulated by the 1968 Hague-Visby Rules which is of majority application) the claim period is for apparent damages at the time of delivery and for damages not apparent up to 3 days after delivery. The limitation period for this claim is 1 year (not interruptible) since the goods arrived or should have reached the destination. And as for the compensation limit is 667.67 SDR per package or unit or 2 SDR per kilogram of gross weight (whichever is greater).
In maritime transport there are other agreements such as the UN Convention on the carriage of goods by sea or Hamburg Rules (1978) and the Rotterdam rules (2008) which to date are not in force because it has only been ratified by Spain and requires for its entry into force one year after the twentieth ratification.
In multimodal transport there is no uniform legal framework, but the United Nations Convention on the International Multimodal Transport of Goods (Geneva, 1980), “Geneva Convention”, may be taken into account. According that, operator is liable for loss resulting from loss of or damage to the goods according to article 16, his liability shall be limited to an amount not exceeding 920 units of account per package or other shipping unit or 2.75 units of account per kilogram of gross weight of the goods lost or damaged, whichever is the higher. However, if the international multimodal transport does not, according to the contract, include carriage of goods by sea or by inland waterways, the liability of the multimodal transport operator shall be limited to an amount not exceeding 8.33 units of account per kilogram of gross weight of the goods lost or damaged. In case of delay in delivery the limit is the price of transport.
It is important that participants in international transport contracts be aware of the indemnity limits so that when they take out transport insurance they are taken into account.