Multimodal Transport Evolving: Freedom and Regulation Three Decades after the 1980 MTO Convention

1 In particular from the United Nation Conference for Trade and Developments (UNCTAD) and the United Nation Conference for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).


2 On the institutional side a particular effort towards uniform liability has been made by the European Commission.


3 As Art 18.4 of the 1999 Montreal Convention; Art 2(1) of the CMR; Art 1.4 of the COTIF-CIM 1999; and partly Art 2.2 of the CMNI in respect of sea and inland waterways transportation.


4 The 2009 UN Convention on the Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea.


5 On the private and non-regulatory side, the effort to tackle the issue of the liability of multimodal transport operators has been very intense: FIATA, ICC and BIMCO are only the most prominent private international bodies who have worked towards an industry led practical solution.


6 Eg the FIATA Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading, the UNCTAD/ICC Rules for Multimodal Transport Documents (ICC Publication 481) and COMBIDOC first, followed by COMBICONBILL, COMBICONWAYBILL, MULTIDOC 95 and MILTIWAYBILL 95 from BIMCO.


7 With the 1980 United Nations Convention on International Multimodal Transport of Goods.


8 B Marten, ‘Multimodal Transport Reform and the European Union: A Treaty Change Approach’ (2012) 36 Tulane Maritime Law Journal 741, at 754.


9 M Ruse, Dawinsim Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies (1982, Addison-Wesley, Canada), at p 26.


10 UNCTAD, Multimodal Transport: The Feasibility of an International Legal Regime, UNCTAD/ SDTE/TLB/ 2003/1.


11 F Lorenzon, M Clarke, J Ramberg, R Herber, Integrated Services in the Intermodal Chain, available at folk.uio.no/erikro/WWW/cog/Intermodal%20liability%20and%20documentation.pdf.


12 Nugent v Smith (1876) 1 CPD 423.


13 Russell v Niemann (1864) 17 CB NS 163.


14 The Barcore [1896] P 294 and Hudson v Baxendale (1857) 2 H&N 575 for its insufficient packing version.


15 Aktieselskabet de Danske Sukkerfabrikker v Bajamar Compania Naviera SA (The Torenia) [1983] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 210; the ‘exception to the exception’ argument.


16 Glynn v Margetson [1893] AC 351.


17 [2000] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 255.


18 For some interesting thoughts on the concept of multimodalism, see R Thomas, ‘Multimodalism and Through Transport – Language, Concepts and Categories’ (2012) 36 Tulane Maritime Law Journal 37.


19 F Lorenzon, M Clarke, J Ramberg, R Herber, Integrated Services in the Intermodal Chain, available at folk.uio.no/erikro/WWW/cog/Intermodal%20liability%20and%20documentation.pdf, at 30.


20 Eg MULTIDOC 95, cl. 10; FIATA Bill, cl. 6.


21 Eg MULTIDOC 95, cl. 11; FIATA Bill, cl. 6.6.


22 Eg MULTIDOC 95, cl. 12; FIATA Bill, cl. 8.


23 Eg MULTIDOC 95, cl. 4; FIATA Bill, cl. 17.


24 UNCTAD, Multimodal Transport: the feasibility of an international legal regime, UNCTAD/SDTE/ TLB/ 2003/1; and F Lorenzon, M Clarke, J Ramberg, R Herber, Integrated Services in the Intermodal Chain, available at folk.uio.no/erikro/WWW/cog/Intermodal%20liability%20and%20documentation.pdf. For some further reflections on the need for industry support, see B Marten, ‘Multimodal transport reform and the European Union: a minimalist approach’ (2012) 2 European Transport Law 129, at 138–41.


25 See R Herber, ‘The European Legal Experience with Multimodalism’ (1989) 64 Tulane Law Review 611; B Marten, ‘Multimodal transport reform and the European Union: a minimalist approach’ (2012) 2 European Transport Law 129; and V Ulfbeck, ‘Multimodal transports in the United States and Europe – Global or regional liability rules?’ (2009) 34 Tulane Maritime Law Journal 41.


26 As evident in the Preparation of a Preliminary Draft of a Convention on International Intermodal Transport. See UNCTAD Document TD/B/AC.15/2, 1973, at p 3. On a full history of the development of multimodal transport legislation see J Ramberg, The Law of Transport Operators in International Trade (Stockholm, 2005).


27 This was inspired by the need to ‘(i) simplify the transport document so that one document would serve several stages of the carriage where more than one means of transport was used; (ii) ensure that the shipper/ consignee could pursue their claim against one party responsible rather than against several carriers involved.’ M Faghfouri, ‘International Regulation of Liability for Multimodal Transport – In Search of Uniformity’ (2006) Vol 5, No 1, WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, 95–114, at p 96.


28 K Nasseri, ‘The Multimodal Convention’ (1988) 19(2) Journal of International Maritime Law, at pp 230–35.


29 The United Nations Convention on International Multimodal Transport of Goods, done at Geneva on 24 May 1980 (hereafter The MT Convention), on which see R De Wit, Multimodal Transport: Carrier Liability and Documentation (London, 1995).


30 MT Convention, Arts 5–13.


31 MT Convention, Arts 14–21.


32 MT Convention, Arts 22–23.


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