Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Road Haulage Association update carriage conditions

Revised terms for members of RHA from September
Shipping News Feature

A press release yesterday from the RHA revealed their intention to make important changes to the standard terms under which their members operate. These include:

Lien clause. RHA members have increasingly seen a need for a stronger clause in relation to taking a lien on goods. Under the revised Conditions, members may sell the goods that they hold under lien, as well as purely hold the goods. The Conditions prior to September 1 2009 allowed the goods to be sold only if they were owned by the direct customer of the haulier.

Unreasonable detention. The clause on unreasonable detention, commonly called demurrage, has been strengthened in response to member demand by highlighting the issue to customers.

Law and Jurisdiction. Particularly aimed at sub-contractors from Ireland and Continental Europe to avoid any potential mis-understanding over jurisdiction and to prevent RHA members having to deal with proceedings abroad unless they have specifically agreed to such terms. This is deemed important due to the increasing numbers of trucks from abroad.

Carriers’ charges. The revised Conditions are aligned with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 and subsequent amendments to that Act, which sets out terms of calculation of interest on late payment – currently 8% above base lending rate. This has strengthened the protection for carriers.

Definition of Dangerous Goods. The Conditions have been revised to take account of new ADR regulations effective this summer.

In addition to the changes the RHA is issuing specimen clauses for members to send to customers on two key issues: demurrage payments; and the variation of haulage rates linked to the cost of diesel, sometimes known as a fuel clause.

“Our conditions are the industry standard, accepted by hauliers, customers and insurers alike,” said RHA Chief Executive Geoff Dunning. “They ensure that everyone understands the basis terms under which work is done, and ensure that disputes are kept to a bare minimum. They are produced for our members' use, and we will be taking firm action to ensure that non-members do not get the benefit".