A number of other countries have indicated their intention to sign or accede to the Convention at a later date.
The signing came after the approval of the Rules by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in July 2008, following seven years of intensive international negotiations. They were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December last year.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), BIMCO and the World Shipping Council (WSC) welcomed the significant level of support given by so many States, including those from the EU and the USA, representing the interests of shipper and carrier.
The Rotterdam Rules will:
• Provide legal certainty and uniformity with regard to the carriage of goods by sea and connected transport
• Modernise the liability regimes that currently apply to the carriage of goods by sea
• Cover multimodal carriage of goods that involve a sea leg while respecting existing unimodal conventions which also regulate multimodal transports
• Address gaps that presently exist, including the introduction of provisions to facilitate e-commerce
• Strike a balance between the interests of shipowners and shippers in terms of liabilities and the allocation of risks between both parties
In a joint statement the ICS, ECSA, BIMCO and WSC said, “By signing the Rotterdam Rules, States are leading the way towards achieving international uniformity and will give strong encouragement to others to sign the new Convention”.
“It is hoped that it will discourage those contemplating national or regional rules on cargo liability which would seriously militate against achieving real global uniformity.”
The organisations stressed that it is imperative to obtain ‘uniform, harmonised and modernised rules on cargo liability at international level’, as a way to avoid divisive and contradictory national and regional legislation.
‘A rapid ratification of the new regime by major trading nations will determine the shape of international transport law for the most important markets in maritime commerce and pave the way to achieve the worldwide uniformity needed in the 21st Century,’ the statement continued.
Believing that there is no global uniform alternative for those seeking a real international solution and that this is an opportunity to establish international uniformity for maritime and multimodal transport of cargo that should not be missed, the organisations called upon countries that have not yet signed to do so, to ratify and apply these rules as soon as possible.