In recent years civilian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology has developed rapidly and the use of UAVs has become increasingly widespread. Both amateur and professional drone users should treat all applicable regulations and normative documents with caution to avoid legal sanctions and administrative penalties. This article is a brief introduction to the registration, certification and licensing requirements relating to civil unmanned aircraft in China.
A case before the Guangzhou Maritime Court illustrates the importance of preserving evidence in case of losses arising from the carrier's delivery of goods without the original bills of lading. The original bill of lading holder must prove that it could not receive the goods at the discharge port with the original bill of lading, or that the carrier delivered the goods without the original bill of lading.
The Standard Ground Handling Agreement (SGHA) has been adopted for a substantial number of ground handling agreements between airlines and ground handling companies. Article 8.1 of the SGHA is typically used to exempt ground handling companies from liability for damages caused by them. A Shanghai High Court judgment has clarified significant issues relating to the interpretation of this article.
In container transport, the issue of demurrage and detention may arise if the container is provided by the carrier. Two cases heard by the Qingdao Intermediate People's Court show that if a carrier pleads with a court for demurrage and detention, the court will consider whether the carrier has taken reasonable steps to mitigate loss.
A case before the Shanghai Maritime Court illustrates the blurred lines between the positions of freight forwarder and non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC). In practice, freight forwarding companies alter their position between that of a freight forwarder and an NVOCC depending on the occasion, in order to maximise profit and avoid liabilities. However, the courts may give differing judgments on the issue.
Border entry and exit permissions are an important aspect of international air transport. A case before the Jingan District People's Court has confirmed that since the regulation of immigration is a government function, the passenger will bear the consequences if air travel is interrupted due to visa issues.
Recent developments in the shipping and transport sector include the issuance of administrative measures governing the supervision of road transport vehicles through satellite positioning devices, the publication of draft guidance on the transformation and upgrade of ports and the Ministry of Transport's announcement that it has cancelled or delegated certain items previously requiring its approval.
When Austrian Airlines found the luggage of one of its passengers several months after it had gone missing, the passenger was notified to reclaim it. The passenger checked the luggage and found that all of the previously declared contents were intact. However, he then unexpectedly claimed that valuables worth Rmb200,000 were missing. The court considered the extent of the airline's liability in the subsequent compensation claim.
A recent case has highlighted the extent of a freight forwarder's liability for expenses incurred at the discharging port. The defendant entrusted the plaintiff to handle the freight forwarding for two shipments, which safely arrived at the discharging port. However, the defendant did not pay the freight forwarding fees or the terminal charge paid by the plaintiff on behalf of the defendant.
The courts recently found in favour of Air China in a dispute arising from the re-issuing of the return portion of a ticket. They held that it was legal for both parties to agree to re-issue the ticket and extend its validity period, and therefore both parties should have acted according to the amended contract. As the passenger did not take the re-issued flight as agreed, he was responsible for the consequences.
A Beijing company engaged a Maltese carrier to import 10,000 tons of bulk sulphur. When offloading the goods, it was found that part of the shipment had been seriously contaminated. The Beijing company applied to the Tianjin Maritime Court for preservation of maritime claims. The subsequent case considered several contentious issues, including whether the Beijing company's insurer was entitled to the right of subrogation.
A recent Shanghai Marine Court case regarding damage to a shipment of paper rolls and adhesives while in transit illustrates the limits of carrier liability where the shipper has not packed its goods appropriately. The carrier pointed to International Maritime Organisation guidelines to prove that the packing of the goods was completely unsuitable for sea transport.
A recent case before the Shanghai Maritime Court highlights the importance of pinpointing exactly where cargo damage occurs when determining the responsible party in container damage claims. The case also shows that a consignee's failure to make a full inspection of the goods upon receipt and within the statutory period could bring about the unravelling of its claim.
A recent case before the Guangzhou Maritime Court highlights the extent of relief from carriers' liability for damaged cargo under the Maritime Law. Although the dispute was ultimately settled out of court, provisions of the law allowed the defendant to pay a much lower settlement amount than the plaintiff's original claims.
In a case concerning compensation liability for the release of goods without a bill of lading, the defendant was a qualified non-vessel operating common carrier, but also had a certificate for handling international forwarding. The plaintiff failed to distinguish between the freight forwarder and non-vessel operating common carrier and thus did not make its action against the right defendant, causing the court to rule against it.
Two ships, the M/V SF and the M/V CS, collided in the port of Tianjin, causing much damage to the CS. The CS's owner filed an action for damages against the owner of the SF and its protection and indemnity club insurer. The club argued, among other things, that it was merely a trade brand jointly used by 12 insurers and thus not a legal entity that could be sued. The court ruled in favour of the club, dismissing the claim.
An item of machinery that was to be shipped from Brazil to China was damaged when it struck lifting equipment in the port area. Among other things, the court had to decide whether the defendant was entitled to enjoy the unit limitation of liability that applies when cargo damage occurs during sea transportation, with the plaintiff arguing that the cargo damage had occurred some distance from the ship's rail.
A dispute between a clothing company in China, a logistics company and a shipping company raises significant questions about the scope of liability where goods are released at their destination without an original bill of lading, particularly where the carrier is required to deliver the goods to Customs and the port authority.
Bills of lading and sea waybills differ in their nature and function, and also in the obligations imposed on the carrier. In a dispute arising from the transportation of goods from China to the United States, the Shanghai Maritime Court considered the classification of documents as bills of lading or sea waybills, as well as the effect of a standard term on the back of a bill of lading that stipulated the application of US law.
A ruling of the Shanghai Maritime Court provides guidance on the period within which a court may hear a compensation claim against a carrier for disputes relating to cargo carriage at sea. The court also considered the defendant's argument that it was entitled to exemption because the accident resulted from maritime peril and an inherent defect in the vessel's equipment.