Commerce

Some years ago, an attempt was made to draft a convention to cover loss or damage to goods carried under a Combined Transport Document.  Known as the “Tokyo Rules”, it failed to secure support.  The International Chamber of Commerce took up the draft in 1975 and made it commercially more attractive.  This is published as the “ICC Rules for a Combined Transport Document”, these do not seek to be an international convention but are available to be incorporated by the parties in their individual contracts.  They are widely used and most large operators apply terms and conditions which are based on the ICC Rules, if not precisely complying with them. In the light of the lack of enthusiasm regarding their earlier attempt, UNCTAD sought the co-operation of the ICC to review and update the ICC Rules for a Combined Transport Document. The working party that was constituted to review the Rules was given a clear brief to base its draft on the Hague Visby Rules.  However, Article IV Rule 2 (the catalogue of exceptions) is removed and replaced by Article 5 of the Hamburg Rules (wide liability for loss or damage as well as for delay).  Accordingly there are few Carriers prepared to adopt these voluntary Rules instead of the present ICC Rules. For completeness, students should be aware of the Athens Convention 1974 which was incorporated into English law in 1979.  This covers the shipowner’s liabilities towards passengers and their baggage (luggage).  The convention places a financial limitation based on a sliding scale for loss of life and property.