Similarities and differences between internal regulations on the carriage of goods and the convention on the contract for the international carriage of goods by road (CMR)

A contract for the international transport of goods by road is such a contract by which the carrier undertakes, for a fee, to transport the goods from one place to another in the territory of a country different from the one where the transport started.

The Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) has the primary goal of harmonizing the regulations in international road traffic as much as possible, which is to be achieved by introducing the identical Bill of Lading for the carriage of goods by road. According to the Convention, it is considered that the regulations and provisions of the Convention equally apply to all transports on the territory of a country, if the headquarters of the users of the transport are in different countries. In domestic law, the issue of transportation is regulated by the provisions of the Law on Contracts and Torts of the Republic of Srpska and the Law on Contracts and Torts of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Goods in international transport must be accompanied by a transport document, however, according to the Convention and internal regulations in BiH, the existence and validity of the transport contract are independent of the existence of the Bill of Lading and its accuracy. What serves as a contract on carriage is an international Bill of Lading marked with CMR. It serves as:

            1. Confirmation that the carrier has taken over the goods for transportation i

            2. Contain the conditions under which the transport is carried out.

The question of the road carrier’s responsibility is extremely important, and the principle of objective responsibility is accepted as the basis of responsibility for land transport. In domestic law, it is regulated by Article 671-676 of the Law on Contracts and Torts, where it is stipulated that the carrier is responsible for:

1. Loss or damage to the shipment,

2. Loss or damaged valuables,

3. Complete loss of the shipment (in addition to compensation for damages, the carrier is obliged to return the transportation fee),

4. When the recipient takes over the shipment without objection,

5. Delay,

6. Responsibility for assistants (responsibility for the persons who worked on the execution of the transport).

If several carriers participated in the transportation of a shipment, the carriers would be jointly and severally liable (a carrier who entrusts to another carrier – a subcarrier, the gradual or partial execution of the transportation of a shipment that the carrier accepted for transportation, still remains responsible for its transportation, but asserts the right for compensation from the carrier to whom the shipment was entrusted) and the shared responsibility of the carriers (when the sender concluded a contract with several carriers, each of those carriers is responsible for their part of the transport).

When it comes to the CMR Convention, it prescribes similar conditions for compensation of damages, with the fact that it prescribes certain cases when the carrier can be released from responsibility, namely in cases where the damage was caused by events that were beyond the control of the damage party, namely:

a) By agreement of the parties, an open vehicle was used instead of a closed or special one,

b) If the packaging does not correspond to the nature of the goods,

c) If loss or damage occurs during loading,

d) Due to natural defects of the goods,

e) If the markings are incomplete or incorrect,

f) When transporting live animals, if the carrier followed the instructions.

If the goods handed over for transport are not delivered to the place of the destination within 30 days after the expiry of the agreed term, the CMR Convention stipulates that the goods will be considered lost. However, if the deadline is not specified, then the goods will be considered lost if they are not handed over to the recipient even after 60 days from taking over the goods for transport. The carrier is obliged to pay compensation for exceeding the delivery deadline, but this compensation must be requested within 21 days after taking over the goods. Damage compensation is paid according to the value of the goods.

The carrier’s liability insurance concluded for international transport automatically covers the carrier’s liability insurance in domestic transport. The insured’s liability in international transport is determined according to the provisions of the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR Convention). Therefore, the insurance covers the damage that the insured should pay on the basis of the carrier’s liability and in accordance with the law, i.e., the international Convention.

Insurance of the driver’s liability for goods received for transport in road transport can be concluded by professional carriers whose main activity is transport, carriers who, as part of another activity, also deal with the transport of goods and independent entrepreneurs who deal with the transport of goods.

Author: Milica Crnic

E-mail: [email protected]

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