Monday, August 25, 2008
New UNCITRAL Draft Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly By Sea
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) approved a draft Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea. The draft Convention will be presented to the General Assembly for conclusion later this year.UNCITRAL's Working Group on Transport Law has been working with interested international inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations to prepare a legislative text on issues relating to the international carriage of goods. The draft Convention was prepared over thirteen sessions from April 2002 to January 2008, and was submitted for the approval of UNCITRAL in New York..The Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea aims to create a modern and uniform law concerning the international carriage of goods which include an international sea leg, but which is not limited to port-to-port carriage of goods. In addition to providing for modern door-to-door container transport, there are many innovative features contained in the draft Convention, including provisions allowing for electronic transport records, and other more technical features to fill the perceived gaps in existing transport regimes. Extensive negotiation by the Member States and observers of the Commission has resulted in overwhelming support for a significant increase to the limits on carrier liability for cargo loss or damage that apply in most countries. This is expected to be of substantial benefit for shippers, particularly those in developing and least-developed countries, which are consumers of transportation services. It is expected that harmonization and modernization of the legal regime in this area, which in many countries dates back to the 1920s or earlier, will lead to an overall reduction in transaction costs, increased predictability when problems are encountered, and greater commercial confidence when doing business internationally.