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United Nations Convention on the Liability of Operators of Transport Terminals in International Trade (United Nations 1994)


Article 1 - Definitions

Article 2 - Scope of application

Article 3 - Period of responsibility

Article 4 - Issuance of document

Article 5 - Basis of liability

Article 6 - Limits of liability

Article 7 - Application to non-contractual claims

Article 8 - Loss of right to limit liability

Article 9 - Special rules on dangerous goods

Article 10 - Rights of security in goods

Article 11 - Notice of loss, damage or delay

Article 12 - Limitation of actions

Article 13 - Contractual stipulations

Article 14 - Interpretation of the Convention

Article 15 - International transport conventions

Article 16 - Unit of account

Final Clauses

Article 17 - Depositary

Article 18 - Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval, accession

Article 19 - Application to territorial units

Article 20 - Effect of declaration

Article 21 - Reservations

Article 22 - Entry into force

Article 23 - Revision and amendment

Article 24 - Revision of limitation amounts

Article 25 - Denunciation

[Post Provisions]

[Post Clauses (If any: Signed; Witnessed; Done; Authentic Texts; & Deposited Clauses)]

Note by the Secretariat:


A. Policies underlying the Convention

Need for mandatory liability rules

Gaps in liability regimes left by international conventions

Need for harmonization and modernization

Consequences and benefits of the Convention

B. Preparatory work

[Preparatory work]

C. Salient features of the Convention


Period of responsibility

Issuance of document

Basis of liability

Limits of liability

Application to non-contractual claims

Loss of right to limit liability

Rights of security in goods

Limitation of actions

Final clauses


SiSU Metadata, document information


SiSU Manifest, alternative outputs etc.

United Nations Convention on the Liability of Operators of Transport Terminals in International Trade (United Nations 1994)

United Nations (UN)

copy @ Lex Mercatoria

United Nations Convention on the Liability of Operators of Transport Terminals in International Trade (United Nations 1994)


A. Policies underlying the Convention

Need for harmonization and modernization

8 . The rules in national legal systems governing the liability of terminal operators differ widely, as to both their source and content. The rules may be contained in civil or commercial codes or in other bodies of law governing the deposit or bailment of goods. As to the standard of liability, in some legal systems the terminal operator is strictly liable for the goods, and he can be exonerated only if certain narrow exonerating circumstances are established. In other systems the operator is liable for negligence, i.e. if he did not take reasonable care of the goods. Further differences concern the burden of proving the circumstances establishing the operator's liability. Under many systems a limited quantum of evidence put forward by the claimant is sufficient to establish a presumption of the operator's liability, and it is then up to the operator to prove exonerating circumstances. There are, however, also legal systems in which it is up to the claimant to prove circumstances establishing the oper ator's liability. Disparities exist also in respect of financial limits of liability. In some legal systems the operator's liability is unlimited, while in others limits are established. Further differences concern limitation periods. In some legal systems these periods may be very long. The disparities may be complicated by the fact that in some legal systems operators are subject to different liability rules depending upon the nature of services rendered. For example, storing goods in the operator's warehouse and loading of goods into the vessel's hold may be subject to different sets of rules.

9 . Such disparity of laws causes problems in particular to carriers and other users of transport-related services who are in contact with terminal operators in different countries.

10 . Furthermore, many national laws are not suited for modern practices in transport terminals. For example, national laws may not accommodate the use of containers or computerized communication techniques or may not deal adequately with the question of dangerous goods.

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( International Trade/Commercial Law & e-Commerce Monitor )

W3 since October 3 1993
1993 - 2010

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Ralph Amissah

Lex Mercatoria