Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rotterdam Rules - Following in the wake of Hamburg Rules

Why are important seafaring nations such as the United States, Norway, Denmark, Greece, France and the Netherlands are among the signatories of the new UN Convention 'Rotterdam Rules'. The Rotterdam Rules according to the nations in favour - will give world trade a boost considering that 80% of world trade is conducted by sea.

There is of course the argument that ....if the same law applies all over the world, this will facilitate international trade by making its underlying contracts and documentation more efficient and clearer.

Of course the more ground regulation tries to cover the more verbose it gets leaving the door open for misinterpretation and misunderstanding. The set of rules that cover Sea Carriage today Hague ( and As Amended Hague Visby) run through to 16 articles ( 17 for Visby) Whilst Rotterdam rules is almost thrice as voluminous ( (^ Articles ) as the Hamburg Rules.

The Rotterdam Rules aim bring more clarity regarding who is responsible and liable for what, when, where and to what extent when it comes to transport by sea.

For a very illuminating commentary on why countries should not ratify the Rotterdam rules see what the EMINENT EIGHT have to say about it

Francesco Berlingieri, Philippe Delebecque, Tomotaka Fujita, Rafael Illescas, Michael Sturley, Gertjan Van Der Ziel, Alexander Von Ziegler, Stefano Zunarelli, The Rotterdam Rules an Attempt to Clarify Certain Concerns that Have Emerged [.pdf], 5 August, 2009.

The international trading community is enormously resistant to change – so this attempt to get “ALL ABOARD” may not have a better chance than the jinxed Hamburg Rules. The Australian position is not clear yet – the debate continues.

Prof Nick Gaskell will be in Brisbane 28th October – addressing the issue from an Australian perspective.

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