The guide – ‘Negotiating modern liner shipping terms – a shipper’s guide’ – also reveals how disadvantageous the terms and conditions contained in the small print of bills of lading can be to shippers.
Chris Welsh, the FTA’s general manager of campaigns, stressed that there was much merit in the existing international liability conventions, but also said there was a need to reform and modernise outdated shipping procedures – which liner shipping companies such as Maersk Line have described as “nineteenth-century”.
“We are anxious to retain the best aspects of the liability system, but many of the terms and conditions are indisputably out of date with modern business practice,” said Welsh. “We are not therefore advocating wholesale change, but carriers’ terms and conditions no longer reflect a fair balance between shippers’ and carriers’ interests.
“We are approaching a new era in the liner shipping market, where close partnerships between shippers and carriers will be necessary to optimise and improve the performance of the logistics supply chain. We believe the time is right to tackle out-of-date bills of lading terms and conditions, which are often the source of dispute and friction between customers and suppliers.”