The Meaning of International Multimodal Transport

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To get a better grip on examining the matter and understanding the scope of application of the convention one should define what multimodal transport includes. The MT Convention of 1980 presents the definition in art. 1.1. as follows: ‘’International multimodal transport means the carriage of goods by at least two different modes of transport on the basis of a multimodal transport contract from a place in one country at which the goods are taken in charge by the multimodal transport operator to a place designated for delivery situated in a different country.’’ In short multimodal transport means carriage by more than one mode of transport agreed upon by only one contract of carriage. The contract of carriage is subsequently defined in art. 1.1. of the Rotterdam Rules: ‘’Contract of carriage means a contract in which a carrier, against the payment of freight, undertakes to carry goods from one place to another. The contract shall provide for carriage by sea and may provide for carriage by other modes of transport in addition to the sea carriage.’’ From this we can deduce that a contract of carriage can be unimodal, but also multimodal (more precise: maritime plus) as it provides for carriage by other modes of transport in addition to the sea carriage. Article 5 of the convention governs the general scope of application and states the requirements the contract of carriage should meet for the convention to be applied: ‘’Subject to article 6, this Convention applies to contracts of carriage in which the place of receipt and the place of delivery are in different States, and the port of loading of a sea carriage and the port of discharge of the same sea carriage are in different States, if, according to the contrac... ... middle of paper ... ...t’s Report: ‘’In a modified system, some rules apply irrespective of the unimodal stage of transport during which loss, damage or delay occurs, but the application of other rules depends on the unimodal stage of transport during which loss, damage or delay occurs’’. The possibility of using rules in a more flexible way with this modified system makes compromises possible and likewise by customizing different arrangements a system can be made more network-like or uniform. An adaptation-ability on this level can lead to a workable consensus, because all conflicting views and interests can be taken into account. A potential side-effect is however that a tangle of rules and provisions can strangle the system with the negative consequence that the benefits of both systems cannot be attained. Meaning the system will be too complex for it to be healthy in practice.

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