Coasting Trade

Under the 1924 Act, owing to strong representation made by parties interested in the Coasting Trade, the Act allowed such parties freedom of Contract so long as the Contract was not embodied in a bill of lading but was contained in a receipt which had to be marked clearly as a “non-negotiable document”. Under the 1971 Act, however, this exemption has disappeared and even Coasting Shipments if carried under a bill of lading will be subject to the Rules even though strict application of the rules does not demand this. Under the 1924 Act the parties concerned in the carriage of live animals were free to contract on any agreed terms; in other words, the Act had no application to the carriage of live animals. However, where the contract is contained in or evidenced by a bill of lading or receipt which expressly provides that the 1971 Act will apply, then this shall include contracts for the carriage of live animals. In this respect the 1971 Act in fact goes beyond the demands of the Rules. Here again, if a contract is contained in or evidenced by a bill of lading or receipt which expressly provides that the Rules shall apply, then this shall include contracts for the carriage of deck cargo. However, as was the position under the 1924 Act, deck cargo means cargo which, by the Contract of Carriage, is stated as being carried on deck, and is so carried. If in such circumstances the bill of lading is clearly claused to the effect that cargo is carried on deck “at shipper’s risk and liability” then, in those circumstances, a shipowner would be exempt from liability if loss or damage occurred to the cargo. Under the 1924 Act, voyages covered by the Rules were from ports in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland only. However, this has been amended by the Hague-Visby Rules to the effect that the Rules will apply to every bill of lading relating to the carriage of goods between ports in two different States, as follows: Providing the bill of lading is issued in a Contracting State, OR The carriage is from a port in a Contracting State, OR The Contract contained in or evidenced by the bill of lading provides that the Rules or legislation of any State giving effect to them are to govern the Contract, whatever may be the nationality of the ship, the carrier, the shipper, the consignee or any other interested person.