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Chapter 7 Obligations of the Shipper to the Carrier

Rotterdam Rules: A Practical Annotation

7 Obligations of the Shipper to the Carrier Article 27. Delivery for carriage 1. Unless otherwise agreed in the contract of carriage, the shipper shall deliver the goods ready for carriage. In any event, the shipper shall deliver the goods in such condition that they will withstand the intended carriage, including their loading, handling, stowing, lashing and securing, and unloading, and that they will not cause harm to persons or property. 2. The shipper shall properly and carefully perform any obligation assumed under an agreement made pursuant to article 13, paragraph 2. 3. When a container is packed or a vehicle is loaded by the shipper, the shipper shall properly and carefully stow, lash and secure the contents in or on the container or vehicle, and in such a way that they will not cause harm to persons or property. NOTES [27-01] The shipper and the cargo. Article 27.1 imposes on the shipper 1 different duties as to the condition 2 in which the cargo has to be delivered to the carrier. Firstly, the goods must be delivered “ready for carriage” unless the terms of the contract of carriage provide otherwise. 3 Thus it would seem that the default position is that the shipper must deliver the goods in such condition that they will withstand the intended carriage, including their loading, handling, stowing, lashing and securing, and unloading, and that they will not cause harm to persons or property. If the contract of carriage imposes on the shipper any further obligations as to the readiness of the cargo for transport, these shall also be complied with. 4 The word “condition” as referred to the goods at the time of delivery to the carrier appears to cover both the physical condition of the actual cargo and its packaging and marking. This duty is imposed on the shipper “in any event”. When English law applies, the phrase “in any event” has to be read in its own context. 5 In the words of Tuckey LJ: “the words ‘in any event’ mean what they say. They are unlimited in scope and I can see no reason for giving them anything other than their natural meaning”. 6 Thus—it is submitted—the duty of the shipper to deliver goods capable to withstand the intended voyage has no exceptions.

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