What is Open Bill of Lading

Inland shipping

What kind of contract do you have?

The freight contract for transport by inland waterway is generally a normal freight contract and is now essentially regulated in the Commercial Code (HGB). In addition, the regulations in the Inland Shipping Act (BinSchG) and the loading and unloading times ordinance (BinSchLV) apply.

To distinguish between the inland waterway and the maritime waterway contract, it is not the type of ship that counts, but rather the route of transport. Is it a Inland waters, the contractual relationships are governed by inland shipping law, if the transport is carried out on the open sea, you are dealing with a sea freight contract.

For transports partly on inland waterways and partly by sea, it depends on which is the longer route. However, if a bill of lading has been issued, the law of the sea applies to the entire route.

The German freight law including the additional applicable special regulations are only applicable for transports on German waterways.


International Carriage Regulations

The international "Budapest Convention on the Contract for the Carriage of Goods by Inland Waterway" (CMNI) applies to transport between different countries. The prerequisite for its application is that the port of loading and the port of discharge are in two different states, at least one of which is a contracting state.

In Germany, the agreement came into force on November 1st, 2007. Current contracting states include Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Croatia, Luxembourg, Moldova, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

There are some differences to the land freight contract with regard to the parties involved. In addition to the sender, carrier and recipient already known from general freight law, the unloader, the ship owner (particular), the outfitter, the captain or skipper, the charterer and the pilot may also be included here.

As documents of the informally valid freight contract, in addition to the unusual waybill, the loading note is particularly important; this is often also called the bill of lading, as in sea freight law.

The liability of the carrier

The general rules of the German Commercial Code (HGB) apply to the carrier's liability for loss, damage and delayed delivery. According to this, the carrier is liable for a limited amount of compensation.

A special feature, however, is that according to another agreement that is only valid in Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, liability for personal injury and property damage in favor of the ship owner, charterer or outfitter in the event of damage is limited to a maximum amount for all injured parties, is determined from the load-bearing capacity and propulsive power of the ship.

As in the area of ​​maritime shipping, there are special rules for accidents at sea, the so-called major and special average.

In international traffic - similar to the CMR and the Warsaw Convention - there is limited liability due to suspected fault. Here, the maritime law limitations of 667.67 special drawing rights (SDR) per package or unit or SDR 2.00 per kg of the total shipment were adopted.

There is another special feature here for containers. Here, SDR 1,500 is set as the maximum for the empty unit and SDR 25,000 for the content, if the content is not known.