ICC provides business views on UN transport treaty

  • 12 June 2009

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has issued a statement on a United Nations treaty that will provide uniformity for the international carriage of goods.

The draft Convention on the International Carriage of Goods was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2008 and will be signed at a ceremony in Rotterdam in September 2009. The treaty will be informally known as the “Rotterdam Rules.”

This treaty is an attempt to provide harmonization for the law governing the transport of goods by sea, which is presently subject to a number of different liability regimes.

“As the world business organization, the International Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of developing a harmonized, international ocean cargo regime that is both sound and balanced,” the ICC Commission on Transport and Logistics and the ICC Committee on Maritime Transport said in the joint statement.

The statement added that the ocean cargo regime should also take into account modern developments such as containerization, multimodal transport, and e-commerce.

“Given that the proposed regime will underpin an important element of international commerce, ICC asks governments to consider ratification of the convention,” the statement added. “This should be done in active consultation with international business – including shippers, carriers, forwarders and insurers, noting that these constituencies may have differing views on the regime.”

In considering whether to adopt the treaty, ICC asked that governments pay particular attention to the importance of several issues, including the harmonized liability regime for maritime transport; the clarity of the burdens of proof for all parties and the defences of a carrier or intermediary against whom the claim is made; and the overall impact of the regime on legal certainty.

“ICC stands ready to proactively facilitate business input into national and international discussions on the ratification of the Rotterdam Rules, with a view to bringing about uniformity in this important area of international law,” the statement added.