CMR: Contracts for the international carriage of goods by road

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Successive carriage


11.1 The question of onward carriage arises where one carrier takes over goods from another carrier for the purpose of carrying a consignment to its destination, or else to a point in transit where he in turn hands over the goods to another carrier. The carriers involved may be carriers by different modes, in which case it will be a combined transport operation, which has been discussed in , but in the case of onward carriage by road the movement will either be subject to CMR or the relevant domestic law. There are several methods by which such an arrangement can be made. 11.2 Firstly, a shipper may contract with a forwarder to arrange carriage of goods by road, who in turn will sub-contract the whole transit to a road carrier. In such circumstances the contract between the shipper and the forwarder will be subject to domestic law.1 The contract between the forwarder and the carrier will be a contract of carriage in which the shipper will not be involved unless the forwarder is treated as the shipper’s agent, so creating privity of contract between the shipper and the carrier, which he will not do in most cases.2 The contract of carriage will then be subject either to domestic law or CMR depending upon whether it falls within the terms of Article 1.3 11.3 Secondly, a shipper may contract with a carrier to carry goods by road, who may in turn sub-contract all or part of the carriage. If the contract between the shipper and the carrier is for the international carriage of goods by road within the meaning of Article 1, then the contract will be governed by the Convention, at least as far as the first carrier is concerned. Whether the sub-contracting carrier employed by the first carrier is a party to the CMR contract will depend upon the relationship entered into between the two carriers. If the second carrier becomes a successive carrier for the purposes of the Convention, the relationships between the second carrier, the first carrier and shipper will all be subject to CMR. If, on the other hand, the second carrier is not a successive carrier for the purposes of CMR, the relationship between the second carrier and the first carrier, and between the second carrier and the shipper, will be subject to the relevant domestic law.4 In such

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circumstances, the Convention will only apply insofar as it offers the sub-contractor certain defences when sued by the cargo interests under domestic law.5 11.4 Where a contract is subject to CMR, of the Convention makes special provision for carriage which is to be performed by successive carriers. First, in Article 34 it lays down how a carrier may be constituted as a successive carrier under the Convention:

If carriage governed by a single contract is performed by successive road carriers, each of them shall be responsible for the performance of the whole operation, the second carrier and each succeeding carrier becoming a party to the contract of carriage, under the terms of the consignment note, by reason of his acceptance of the goods and the consignment note.

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