Inter-American Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods by Road
Done at: Montevideo
Date enacted: 1989-07-15
In force: not in force
- Chapter I - Definitions
- Chapter II - Scope
- Chapter III - Documentation
- Chapter IV - Liability
- Chapter V - Jurisdiction
- Chapter VI - Arbitration
- Chapter VII - Final provisions
Chapter I - Definitions
For purposes of this Convention:
Contract for carriage of goods by road
means any contract whereby the carrier undertakes, in exchange for the payment of a carriage charge or price, to transport goods overland from one place to another in vehicles that use roads as transportation infrastructure;
Contract for the joint carriage of goods by road
means that which is concluded, upon issuance of a single bill of lading, for carriage performed successively by vehicles of separate carriers;
means any merchandise that can be carried and, if they are supplied by the carrier, containers, pallets, and similar shipping or packaging materials;
Bill of lading, transport document or consignment note
means the document certifying that the carrier has taken the goods into his care and has undertaken a commitment to deliver them in accordance with the agreed-upon terms;
means the person who performs the carriage of goods by road;
Shipper, sender of consignor
means the person who, either for his own account or for that of third parties, delivers goods to the carrier for carriage;
consignee or receiver
means the person authorized to receive the goods.
Chapter II - Scope
This Convention shall apply to the international carriage of goods by road, provided that the place of dispatch of the goods is in a State Party and that of their delivery is in another State Party, even when the vehicle used is itself carried, for a portion of the route, by some other mode of transportation without the goods being unloaded, or when carriage is performed by joint services.
The rules of this Convention shall not limit the rules of bilateral or multilateral conventions between the States Parties concerning the international transportation of goods or more favorable practices followed by those States in relation thereto.
This Convention shall not apply to carriage performed in accordance with international postal agreements or other international treaties. In no case shall this Convention entail restrictions on border shipping facilities, particularly those involving free transit, that the States Parties at present grant or may eventually grant to one another and for which the bill of lading may be dispensed with.
Chapter III - Documentation
The contract for international carriage of goods by road shall be embodied in a document known as a bill of lading, which shall be made out by the carrier at the request of the shipper when the carrier takes over the goods. The contract shall stipulate the terms of the carriage operation.
The bill of lading may be made out to bearer, to order or to a named party. It shall be made out in original and copies, and the number of copies shall be specified. The original may be endorsable or not endorsable. Each copy shall be marked "nonnegotiable copy."
When the freight to be carried comprises different types or lots of goods, as many bills of lading may be issued as there are different types or lots of goods.
If the shipper so agrees, a nonnegotiable bill of lading may be issued and, for that purpose, any mechanical or electronic means that records the information stipulated in Article 5 may be used.
The bill of lading shall contain the following particulars;
The name, domicile and address of the carrier;
The name, domicile and address of the shipper;
The name, domicile and address of the consignee, when supplied by the shipper;
The place and date of loading of the goods and the place specified for their delivery at destination;
The general nature of the goods, their apparent state and condition, the principal markings necessary for identifying them, the number of packages or pieces and the gross weight;
The date or deadline for delivery of the goods at the place of destination;
Freight charges and additional costs, with a separate indication of the precise manner and place of payment;
The declared value of the goods;
When necessary, an express statement that the goods are dangerous, contaminating or harmful;
A statement that transshipment is either allowed or prohibited, and should carriage be performed by joint services, the names, domiciles, and addresses of the carriers involved and their portions of the route;
An indication that the contract for carriage is subject to the provisions of this Convention;
The signature of the carrier or of the party issuing the bill of lading in the carrier's name and as his representative, and the signature of the shipper, his representatives, agents or servants. These signatures may be handwritten or, if this procedure is not inconsistent with the laws of the country where the bill of lading is issued, made by any mechanical or electronic means.
The carrier and shipper may, by mutual agreement, add any other statement they deem advisable to the bill of lading.
The omission from the bill of lading of one or more of the particulars provided for in Article 5 shall not affect the existence of the contract for the international carriage of goods by road.
The shipper guarantees to the carrier the accuracy of the particulars indicated in subparagraph e) of Article 5 that he has provided for inclusion in the bill of lading. The shipper shall compensate the carrier for any loss sustained by him as a result of inaccuracies in those particulars.
Whenever he makes an inspection, the carrier may note on the bill of lading reservations with respect to the markings, apparent state and condition of the goods, their number, quantity or weight, when he has reasonable grounds to presume that such specifications do not correspond to the goods received or where he has no routine means of verifying that they do so correspond; in that case he shall enter in the bill of lading the reasons for those reservations and the grounds upon which they are based. In default of such reservations, it is presumed, save evidence to the contrary, that the goods were delivered to him as they appear on the bill of lading. Evidence to the contrary shall not be admissible when the negotiable bill of lading has been endorsed to a third-party holder in good faith.
Should a carrier wish to make reservations, the shipper may require inspection of the content of the packages; in that case the carrier shall be entitled to claim the cost of such inspection. The findings of such inspections shall appear in the bill of lading.
A carrier who wrongfully enters in the bill of lading inaccurate information on the goods shall be liable for any damages sustained on that account by the shipper, the consignee or a third party and may not avail himself of the provisions that limit his liability.
The holder of the hill of lading shall be entitled to request the carrier to change the designated point of delivery or the name of the consignee. Any expenses incurred as a result of new instructions to the carrier shall be borne by the above-mentioned holder.
Chapter IV - Liability
The carrier shall be liable for any loss or damage to the goods and for delay in delivering or failure to deliver the goods, except to the extent that he proves that it is due to any of the following reasons:
An act of God;
An inherent defect of the goods;
Negligence on the part of the shipper or consignor, or
Special circumstances with respect to the instructions that were entered on the bill of lading.
In no case shall the liability of the carrier exceed the real value of the goods at the place and time of their shipping or at the place and time that delivery was made or should have been made, or the declared value on the bill of lading, whichever is greater.
The parties may agree in writing to increase or limit the liability of the carrier and to fix an amount per unit or weight of the freight.
In the event of gross negligence, willful misconduct or an act or omission on the part of the carrier, done with intent to cause loss, damage or delay in delivery or recklessly and with knowledge that such loss, damage or delay would probably result, none of the limitations provided for in this article shall apply.
The carrier shall be liable for the acts or omissions of his agents and servants, and of third parties to whom all or part of the service is entrusted.
In the event of joint carriage the first carrier and the final carrier shall be jointly and severally liable to the shipper, the consignor and the holder of the hill of lading, regardless of the place in which the damage or loss occurs or the delay or nondelivery of the goods is caused.
Chapter V - Jurisdiction
Actions based on international carriage of goods by road may be instituted, at the option of the plaintiff, before the courts of the State;
Cases of carriage of goods involving joint services shall be heard in any of the fora indicated above at the option of the plaintiff and, should the carrier be the defendant, the action may be brought in any of those fora only against the first or final carrier.
Chapter VI - Arbitration
In a contract for the international carriage of goods by road, the parties may submit to arbitral decision any differences that may arise or have arisen between them. The arbitration may be ad-hoc or institutional, and if it is arbitration by law, the provisions of this Convention shall apply.
Chapter VII - Final provisions
This Convention shall be open for signature by the Member States of the Organization of American States.
This Convention is subject to ratification. The instruments of ratification shall he deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.
This Convention shall remain open for accession by any other State. The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.
This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of the second instrument of ratification.
For each State ratifying or acceding to the Convention after the deposit of the second instrument of ratification, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession.
Each State may, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, make reservations to this Convention, provided that each reservation concerns one or more specific provisions and is not incompatible with its objective and purpose.
If a State Party has two or more territorial units in which different systems of law apply in relation to the matters dealt with in this Convention, it may, at the time of signature, ratification or accession, declare that this Convention shall extend to all its Territorial units or only to one or more of them.
Such declaration may be modified by subsequent declarations, which shall expressly indicate the territorial unit or units to which this Convention applies. Such subsequent declarations shall be transmitted to the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, and shall become effective thirty days after the date of their receipt.
This Convention shall remain in force indefinitely, but any of the States Parties may denounce it. The instrument of denunciation shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States. After one year from the date of deposit of the instrument of denunciation, the Convention shall no longer be in force for the denouncing State, but shall remain in force for the other States Parties.
The original instrument of this Convention, the English, French, Portuguese and Spanish texts of which are equally authentic, shall he deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, which will forward an authenticated copy of its text to the Secretariat of the United Nations for registration and publication in accordance with Article 102 of its Charter. The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States shall notify the Member States of the Organization of American States and the States that have acceded to the Convention, of the signatures, deposits of instruments of ratification, accession and denunciation as well as of reservations, if any.
In witness whereof, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized thereto by their respective governments, have signed this Convention.
Done in the city of Montevideo, Republic of Uruguay, the fifteenth day of July in the year nineteen hundred eighty-nine.