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News and knowledge

Cargo conventions

Cargo convention resources

In this section you will find useful resources concerning cargo conventions. 

Find reference links below.


Hague Rules

The Hague Rules represented the first attempt by the international community to establish a workable and uniform set of rules governing the carriage of goods by sea and identify the rights and responsibilities of carriers and owners of cargo.  The Rules were published in 1924 following an international convention and were subsequently given the force of law in many maritime countries




Hague-Visby Rules

The Visby Amendment to the Hague Rules added two main elements: increased limitation amounts and a specific provision of limitation relating to containers. Other amendments were also made, including a new definition of the scope of application and some clarification on better protection to the purchaser in good faith of the bill of lading.  The consolidated Hague-Visby Rules entered into force in 1977 after the tenth state acceded.




Hamburg Rules

The United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Hamburg Rules) were adopted were adopted on 31 March 1978.  The Rules sought to redress the apparent imbalance between shipowners and shipper interests by adopting a new approach to cargo liability where the carrier is held responsible for the loss of or damage to goods whilst in their charge, unless they can prove that all reasonable measures to avoid damage or loss were taken. The Convention entered into force on 1 November 1992 when the pre-requisite number of countries acceded to the Convention. However, the Rules have proved unpopular with many of the world’s trading nations failing to sign up to the Rules.  




Rotterdam Rules

The "Rotterdam Rules" (formally, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea) is a treaty comprising international rules that revises the legal and political framework for maritime carriage of goods. The convention attempts to establish a comprehensive, uniform legal regime governing the rights and obligations of shippers, carriers and consignees under a contract for door-to-door shipments that involve international sea transport. The stated aim of the convention is to extend and modernize international rules already in existence and achieve uniformity of admiralty law in the field of maritime carriage, updating and/or replacing many provisions in the Hague Rules, Hague-Visby Rules and Hamburg Rules.

The final draft of the Rotterdam Rules, which was assembled by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, was adopted by the United Nations on 11 December 2008.  Following adoption of the Rotterdam Rules, 24 countries representing approx. 25% of world trade have signed up. The most recent of which was Sweden, which signed on 20 July 2011. The Rotterdam Rules will enter into effect when 20 countries ratify the treaty. To date, only two countries, Spain and Togo have ratified the Rules.



Standard Bulletin feature on Rotterdam Rules

Contracts of Carriage and bills of lading