The final text of a new prospective Convention on the carriage of goods has been recently agreed in Vienna. It will be discussed, and almost certainly adopted, by the UNCITRAL Commission at its meeting in New York in June 2008. After that it will be adopted by the General Assembly of the UN and be open for signature in 2009.
It raises immediate topical questions, both political and legal. Will it be ratified by the US, who have been pressing for a new sea carriage convention and have obtained
concessions? Would the rest of the world follow? Would the replacement of the Hague Visby Rules and the Hamburg Rules ( together with national Bill of Lading statutes) by a totally new and untried text be a step forwards or backwards?
• “Door-to door” coverage. Interplay with CMR, COTIF, Warsaw and national statutes. Application to “roll-on, roll-off” and non “mode-specific” transport.
• The increase in carriers’ liabilities
• “Volume contracts”; their effect legally and commercially
• Transport documents; new terminology; new categories; delivery without surrender of bills of lading.