Intermodal Freight Transport

Chapter 14: Carrier Liability in Intermodal Transport

Overview

Intermodal and combined road rail transport offers many practical benefits to freight shippers, to road haulage contractors, and to the public at large through reductions in environmental pollution of one form or another, as this book shows. While such operations are running smoothly there is a tendency to conclude that a more efficient and effective means of transportation would be hard to conceive. However, this is not to say that it is a perfect solution to all long-haul freighting requirements, far from it. When things go wrong and the problems arise of having to resolve claims for loss of, or damage to, the goods in transit (GIT), the incompatibility of the respective legal regimes relating to carrier liability is quickly highlighted. In other words, it is at this point that otherwise efficiently conjoined systems appear to leak significantly at the seams. Confusion reigns, not only among the lay freight shippers and carriers themselves, but also among the legal fraternity (both lawyers and courts) whose job it is to determine whether there was negligence, by whom and to what extent, and to assess liability and award compensation.

One undoubted benefit that can be cited for the through-carriage, door-to-door, of international freight from its point of origin to its final destination by road vehicle is that liability for any loss, damage, or delay to the goods can clearly be laid at the door of the road haulier whose vehicle undertook the whole operation. There can be little dispute in such circumstances as...

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