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Enr: 03790103516
B.B.A. LL.B (H)-“A”


Commercial law may be a sub-division of civil law where both public and personal issues are
addressed: specifically, it constitutes rules and regulations that govern various commercial
transactions that also are known by other names, most ordinarily. Business or trade law. Broad
Areas of business are administered under this law, including both corporate and consumer
transactions. The areas covered by mercantile law may include company contracts, customer
credits, house loans and secured transactions and also global commerce, banking, transport and
sales are administered by commercial banking.

» To develop further understanding of the theories and concepts covered in the respective
» To develop a practice of learning new aspects of the subject and develop a habit of research
related to the subject.

It cannot be denied that transportation is one of the key components to trade facilitation. The
function of transportation is to move the people and goods from one location to another.
Transportation can be performed by various modes, such as air, rail, road, sea, inland waterway,
pipeline, cable and space. In some sense, the data transmission through internet also can be
deemed as transportation. Infrastructure creates usage path of transportation, which vehicles are
placed there. Journey is started by vehicles on the available infrastructure from one origin place
to final destination. This finally comes to transport service by transport service provider or
transport operator. Back to 1830, the container transport by rail was brought out by the
Liverpool& Manchester Railway using Roll-on/Roll-off container and in 1839 the Birmingham
& Derby railways introduced a form of multimodal transport by transferring the container from
rail wagons to horse carriage. The first container carriage inaugurated in 1921 by rail transport
and sea transport happened in 1957 by Sea-Land Inc. in USA, when Mr. McLean, the boss of his
own trucking business in the North Carolina rebranded his company and introduced the first of a
series of vessels converted into a specialized container ship that were capable to carry boxes
below and on the deck of the ship. Sea-Land Inc. expanded container business by improving
logistics of the American military’s mission in Vietnam and had six container vessels during that
time traversing the Pacific from US west coast.

Modes of Transport: it is a term applied to distinguish substantially different ways to perform

transport or the method of transport used for the apparent motion of goods such as road, sea, air
or rail.

Means of Transport: it defines as the vehicle that uses for transportation such as vessel, barge,
truck, aircraft etc.

Type of Transport: In this context, it refers as to how the transport is performed by which
mode and which means of transport. Type of transport can be referred as Unimodal, through
transport such as Intermodal, Multimodal and Combine transport, which are very similar
interim of transportation of goods by more than one mode of transport but the way of carriage is

when organizing a shipment of goods, one can choose from several different routes and types
of transport available. The best service can be evaluated according to the total costs, duration of
transport, logistics efforts or environmental impact. Moreover, it is possible to use a single type
of transport or to combine different modes of transport for the same route, which can be
especially useful for long distance shipments.

Unimodal Transport
The transportation, which the goods are carried by purely one single mode of transport is so
called Unimodal transport, namely by road, rails, sea, inland waterway, airspace and pipeline. In
short, it is known as Carriage of goods by only one mode of transport. In sea transport, if the
goods is shipped by one carrier who issues own transport document, bill of lading from one port
to another port is normal case, however, If there is more than one carrier, for example, the
carriage from one port via another port (transshipment at intermediate port) to final destination
port, the first carrier who has taken in charge may issue a through bill of lading covering the
entire transport with full responsibility and liability for the entire port-to-port transport. This is
also the Unimodal transport.

Intermodal Transport
It is one of transportation type, which carries the goods from one place to another place
internationally by at least two modes of conveyance. It involves the transportation of freight in
an intermodal container or vehicle, using several modes of transportation without any handling
of the freight itself when changing modes through an intermodal transport chain, which permits
the integration of several transportation networks. The concept of Intermodal transport is to
reduce cargo handling during transportation, better protection, improve security and reduce
damage and loss to the commodities. Moreover, it would enhance the performance of
transportation by using the most productive modes. Such as long-haul of transport, the rail or
inland waterway may be used while the flexibility and efficiencies of delivery will be done by
Multimodal Transport
The Multimodal Transport is similar to Intermodal Transport in term of using various modes of
transport from one place to another place internationally as well as a single contract and single
carrier for transportation. The difference between Intermodal transport and multimodal transport
is the cargoes handling during the journey. The Multimodal transport operation will require
having cargoes handling during the transportation. Some may refer Multimodal Transport as
Combine Transports well.

Advantage and Disadvantage of Unimodal Transport

It is inevitable to say that transportation facilitate international trade moving the goods from
seller to buyer. There are advantage and disadvantage of using Unimodal when the economic
becomes globalization. Since Unimodal transport in most cases, provides port-to-port, terminal-
to-terminal rather than point-to-point except land transport gets involved from the beginning
point to the ending point in entire transport.
1. Unimodal transport can provide door-to-door delivery in case land transport is used.
However, there is limitation when there is no physical linkage for a truckto run and trucking cost
is not in economy scale. However, mostly Unimodal transport serves terminal to terminal or port
to port basis.
2. Unimodal transport can serve more efficiently in term of cost when goods are shipped for port
to port or terminal to terminal only, however, whenever the shipment has to be shipped beyond
port or terminal to ending point of transport, multimodal transport is more efficient in cost since
the single contract is made and it is not necessary for Trader to find carriers to take over the
shipment for second leg of transport and so.

Unimodal vs. Multimodal vs. Intermodal transportation of goods

To properly compare the different modalities of transport, it is important to first understand the
meaning of each of these terms. In unimodal transportation of goods, the products are
delivered using a single mode of transport, mainly by road, as it is the most efficient for door-to-
door deliveries.

In order to get the most efficient possible shipment, two or more types of transport can be
combined, such as road, rail, sea and air. Combined transportation can be classified into two
categories: multimodal and intermodal. They can be used not only for long distance deliveries,
but also when the customer has a limited timeframe for the delivery or needs a shipment that
requires special handling.

Nowadays, there is a growing tendency, where most of the shipments are carried under contract
of carriage with the involvement of multimodal or combined transport. In the direction of
integrated approach towards transport, it is considered as the first step, for which transportation
of goods is now easy between continents, and when it is difficult or impossible to use just one
mode of transport. Within the multimodal transport (MT) system, the use of containers, roll-
on/roll-off (ro-ro) vehicles, and barges has reduced risk and saved money and time. With the
support of information technology, the transport management improves, and innovative ship and
vehicle like articulated lories and cellular ships were introduced to the transport system which
helped MT system to be formed.

On the other hand, MT system has brought some legal chaos. It was a new urgency to answer to
the questions like who to sue (actual carrier or freight forwarder or contacting carrier) if the
delivery is delayed or goods are lost or damaged, where to sue, time limit for initiating action,
the basis of the liability and so on. So, the purpose of this paper is to critically analyse MT’s
advantages and disadvantages in carriage of goods where regulating Conventions and Acts will
have significant impact.

According to The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), since the
mid-1960s, there has been an enormous growth in Containerized transport as MT for carriage of
goods, which will continue through future. It was also pointed out by UNCTAD that in 2000
container usage was 225.3 million where, as in 1965 it was zero.

In the same year, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL),
noted that, in 2001, USA carried about 68% of the value of all US foreign waterborne cargo
regarding container liner industry (out of a total of US$720 billion, its value is of US$490
billion) of which 75- 80% was carried by MT. In 2000, around 60 million containers were
carried, where 50% of them on a multimodal basis.

Through Bills of Lading: This type of bill involves more than one carrier, and trans-shipping of
the goods at an intermediate port, where original carrier, is responsible for entire voyage, or
undertakes responsibility for the part of the voyage, or acts as agent for other carriers involved.
There is an ambiguity, regarding the issue of being document of title. Sometimes, it becomes
essential to include Himalaya or circular indemnity clauses in bills of lading (B/L) to protect the
subcontractors. Moreover, it will be difficult to identify responsibility of principle or
participating careers, therefore, difficulty of proving the place where the damage has occurred.

Combined Transport Bills: In MT, actual contractor can take separate B/L, waybills or other
transport documents from the separate actual carriers who are his subcontractors. Under the
combined transport bills, the cargo owners will have contractual right for recovering damage or
loss occurred by the contractual career, and as it regulates all stages of carriage, it will also be
used as right of recourse against actual carriers.
However, to enjoy the contractual right, this type of B/L should be a document of title – by
which property and possession in the goods mentioned in the bill can pass, and there is a huge
debate of being a document of title or not. A ‘received for shipment’ B/L can be a combined
transport B/L, and by annotating it with the date of shipment it will become shipped bill, and
constitute a document of title. Actually, the thing that matters is performing careers’ capacity to
control delivery, which was illustrated in Spectra case, where it was stated that by obtaining a
right to give direction to the warehouseman to delivery, a party could become a bailee of goods.

Impact of COGSA 1992: Though, COGSA 1992 has not given definition of B/L, s. 1 (2) (b)
stats that it applies to ‘received for shipment bills’. However, we have already discussed how
received for shipment bills becomes shipped B/L, and regarded as document of title. Moreover,
there is no reference of contract being by sea, but contract of carriage contained or evidenced by
B/L. So, the document will regard as document of title between shipment and competition of
voyage, therefore, allowing the lawful holder also to sue for the damages occurred outside the
sea carriage period. If it doesn’t regard as B/L, then a question may arise whether combined
transport bills may fall within the scope of COGSA 1992 relating to waybills, but still there will
be risk regarding interpretation. The document which identifies the person to deliver the goods
mentioned in the contract is a waybill, whereas, with combined transport B/L delivery will be
made if such a document is produced. So, it will be a problem if the person to delivery is not
identified. It is evident form the Act that combined transport waybill is excluded from the scope
of the Act, which addressed waybills as a receipt for goods of contract of carriage by sea.

Liability System: For the absence of any uniform Convention, currently, provisions of some
unimodal conventions are dealing with multimodal transport, for example art. 31 of Warsaw
Convention for air transport, for rail COTIF-CIM 1999 and art. 2 of CMR convention.
However, Geneva Convention on International Multimodal Transport of Goods (MT
Convention) 1980 was drawn up by UN to introduce a set of uniform rules. This Convention
introduced a modified uniform liability system, limited liability applies to limited liability along
with uniform liability. Art. 16 provides a liability for fault with reversed burden of proof similar
to Hamburg Rules. Nonetheless, to some extent this system makes the area of multimodal
transport complex. It provides two limitation for unlocalised damages. Firstly, if MT involves
carriage by sea or by inland waterway, MTO will be liable for 920 SDRs per package or other
shipping unit, or 2.75 SDRs per kg, whichever is the higher. In World case his limit was
considered. This figure is about 10% higher than Hamburg Rules and about 20% higher than
Hague-Visby (H-V) Rules. Secondly, if MT does not involve carriage by sea or by inland
waterway, the the limitation amount is raised to a higher level of 8.33 SDR per kg (same as
CMR amount). However, the limits of liability will be determined by reference to any applicable
International Convention or mandatory national law which provides a higher limit of liability
than that of the 1980’s MT Convention for localised loss. Arts. 18 and 19 clearly apply a
network-like system by derogating the principle of a unitary system. Moreover, an improvement
in the area, MTO will be liable for delay regardless of the stage of occurrence delay, therefore,
no need of proving for the claimant the leg where the delay occurred. The Convention did not
solve all the significant problems.Mode of transport has not been defined, hence, it is not clear
whether it is restricted to the vehicle (e.g. ship, plane), the medium (e.g. sea, air) or, both. As the
Convention is seen overly consignor-friendly, it has not attracted the required number of
signatures to come into force and parties of combined transport needs to come up with the
solution of their problem.

However, there are some situation in MT of carriage such as, road carriage to the seaport
Felixstowe; storage of goods following reception by, the sea career and combined transport
career in Birmingham; storage of goods pending collection by road career where no International
Convention apply. Nonetheless, national law like Unfair Contracts Terms Act 1977 may apply
in these stages and it becomes difficult to find out where the loss or damages occurred in
containerised goods, on which compensation payable to cargo claimant may depend. Another
problem is to determine which career is liable for loss if the freight forwarder doses not act as
principal with whom the shipper has contract. To get rid of this kind of problems, it becomes
essential to introduce uniform system in the operation of the carriage by MT.

The pattern of transportation has been changed gradually and especially when containerization
has been implemented, the several concept of transport using container has come out. Starting
from Unimodal Transport where the common carrier, namely shipping line carries container
from port to port, the pattern of transportation has been developed and become
Intermodal/Combine Transport and finally multimodal transport.The key different between
Intermodal transport and multimodal transport is cargo handling during the journey of transport.

» https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/international-law/multimodal-carriage-of-goods-

» https://www.asean.org/storage/images/2015/september/transport-facilitation/batch-

» https://edugeneral.org/blog/business/advantages-multimodal-transport/