Cargo

Our Way Of Handling
Cargo Claims

Our shipping and transportation experts with nautical and/or technical backgrounds are well experienced in Cargo, Hull & Machinery, P&I affairs and other Marine Liabilities.

Air

Cargo claims in international air carriage are usually handled under the Montreal Convention of 1999, in some countries under the old regime of the Warsaw Convention of 1929 and it’s subsequent amendments.
Air cargo is often of high value but of small weight giving the air carrier a valuable right to limit liability. Under the Montreal Convention it is almost impossible to break the air carrier’s right to limit liability.
Some air carriages include pre-flight and post-flight land carriage under a multimodal contract making it in some cases possible to apply alternative transport laws where eventually the carrier’s limitation of liability may be broken.

Sea

Cargo claims in international carriage by sea are usually handled under the Hague Rules, the Hague/Visby Rules or the Hamburg Rules. Whether the new Rotterdam Rules will become widely spread in future has to be seen.

Typical cargo claims are:

  • Handling damages
  • Seawater and rain-water wetting
  • Loss over board
  • Non-delivery, wrong delivery, shortage of cargo
  • Commingling or contamination of cargoes
  • Theft and rubbery
  • Insufficient care in transit (cooling, ventilation, etc)
  • Fire damage
  • General Average contributions

Most ships are owned by one ship off-shore companies. Ownership can quickly be changed to „escape“ liability. It is therefore crucial to quickly enforce adequate security (P&I letter of undertaking, bank guarantee, cash deposit in court) in large claims exceeding say USD 50.000.

Means of enforcing security can inter alia be:

  • Ship arrest
  • Freezing of bank accounts
  • Freezing of insurance proceeds (e.g. under a H&M cover of a ship owner who‘s ship was lost)

All cargo conventions on international carriage by sea do on one hand offer the carrier various defences to avoid liability entirely and on the other hand there are circumstances in which the sea carrier may be prevented from limiting his liability.

Land

Cargo claims in international carriage by road are usually handled under the CMR convention and claims involving rail carriers under the CIM/COTIF convention.

Typical cargo claims are:

  • Handling damages
  • Truck and rail way accidents
  • Non-delivery, wrong delivery, shortage of cargo
  • Commingling or contamination of cargoes
  • Custom problems, confiscation, fines
  • Theft, rubbery, fraud and organised crime
  • Insufficient care in transit (cooling, ventilation, etc)
  • Damages during change of carrier/warehouse