Thursday, September 24, 2009

New UN Shipping Charter Signed

Will unify laws on ocean freight
Shipping News Feature

THE NETHERLANDS – A new United Nations charter, which will replace all existing agreements, was signed on Wednesday in Rotterdam by fifteen nations.

The new convention, referred to as ‘Rotterdam Rules’ is designed to clarify the international laws concerning sea freight, particularly in the area of liability. The new rules increase carriers' liability for damage to cargo and simplify claims procedures in case of damage.

Although the treaty will only take effect one year after 20 countries have ratified it, the United Nations General Assembly has already adopted the proposed measures and it seems likely that other nations will follow the example of the 15 first signatories, who between them represent almost a third of total global trade.

In a statement the Dutch Transport Ministry said of the agreement: "The Rotterdam Rules will give world trade a boost, considering that 80 percent of world trade is conducted by sea.

"If the same law applies all over the world, this will promote international trade and make it more efficient and clearer."

The Dutch Transport Minister, Camiel Eurlings, went on to describe the agreement “historic” and as the beginning of a new era in freight transport.

The signatories to the convention are the United States, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Nigeria, Poland, Senegal, Switzerland and Togo.