Latest updates

Delivery damaged – only damaged pallets and packaging are liable for reimbursement
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 11 December 2019

No matter how well goods are packaged and how great the effort of a carrier to consign a delivery in perfect condition to the customer, damage to goods, pallets and packaging cannot always be avoided. If damage occurs, the carrier will quickly be faced with a claim for damages, either from the shipper, the recipient or their insurer. The Federal Court of Justice redefined the calculation of damages in a ruling at the end of 2018.

Delivery of goods by parking container outside consignee premises
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 13 November 2019

According to the Bremen Higher Regional Court, if agreed by contracting parties, goods can be delivered by parking a shipping container in front of the consignee's premises during non-business hours. In such instances, the carrier will not be liable if the cargo is stolen. This decision is a useful reminder that parties to a transport contract must have unequivocal terms of delivery.

CMNI statute of limitations also applies to ship damage
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 23 October 2019

The Budapest Convention on the Contract for the Carriage of Goods by Inland Waterways (CMNI) states that all claims arising from contracts regulated thereunder become time barred one year after the day on which the goods were or should have been delivered to the consignee. A Higher Shipping Maritime Court decision serves as a useful reminder that Article 24 of the CMNI applies to all claims relating to transport, regardless of which party raises them or whether they concern tortious or enrichment matters.

Court examines scope of multimodal transport
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 02 October 2019

Federal Court of Justice case law suggests that, in multimodal transport cases, voyages always have a series of sections and there are no stages without sections. However, a recent Hamburg Regional Court decision suggests that there may be transport stages in a multimodal transport system that cannot be attributed to a particular section.

Calculating carriers' contributory negligence
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 25 September 2019

In a decision which conflicts with the examination sequence typically preferred by the Federal Court of Justice, the Hamburg Higher Regional Court ruled that a carrier's liability had been miscalculated and that that contributory negligence should have been examined before the limitations of liability. The court opined that, in view of Section 254 of the Civil Code, contributory negligence should be considered after or in conjunction with determining concrete damages and before the limitations of liability.

Additional place of jurisdiction clause in ADSp 2017
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 18 September 2019

The Freight Forwarders' Standard Terms and Conditions (ADSp) are general terms of service recommended by several trade associations. In a recent non-published decision, the Dresden Higher Regional Court addressed whether, in addition to the place of jurisdiction specifications in Section 30.3 of the ADSp 2017, the place of jurisdiction rules set out in Section 30(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure also apply in legal disputes against freight forwarders.

Carrier liability for loss of goods and delayed delivery
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 10 July 2019

The distinction between freight and forwarding contracts is a common subject of legal disputes in Germany, as freight forwarders are generally liable only for organisational or selection faults and can usually relieve themselves of liability if they can prove that they chose a conscientious carrier. A recent Verden Regional Court ruling on the liability of a carrier for loss of goods and delayed delivery provides useful clarity in this context.

Pleasure yacht insurance: navigating without up-to-date charts and proper voyage plan
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 03 July 2019

In a notable hull insurance case, the Celle Court of Appeal dismissed an action brought by an assured pleasure yacht owner who had been sailing on the Baltic Sea and ran aground. The case facts suggest that assureds are often unaware of the impact that outdated chart materials can have on hull insurance and liability cover.

New terms and conditions for logistics providers
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 05 June 2019

The Logistics Terms and Conditions (Logistik-AGB) 2019, which were jointly revised by the German Association for Freight Forwarding and Logistics, the Federal Association of Road Haulage, Logistics and Disposal and the Federal Association of Furniture Forwarders and Logistics, will enter into force on 1 July 2019. The new terms and conditions will replace the Logistik-AGB 2006 and supplement the Freight Forwarders' Standard Terms and Conditions 2017.

Destruction of consignment by Customs – question of liability
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 22 May 2019

The Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf recently confirmed the underlying principle of Article 18(2)(d) of the Montreal Convention – namely, that air carriers cannot be held liable for damages which are entirely outside their sphere of risk and influence. However, this decision is also a useful reminder that an exclusion of liability clause is not a free pass for carriers.

Light goods + heavy pallets x 8.33 special drawing rights?
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 24 April 2019

How should the weight of a shipment containing damaged goods but usable pallets be calculated, considering that this would form the basis for liability? According to a recent Federal Court of Justice decision, if the pallets are still usable, only the net weight of the goods counts. The court held that it is necessary to look closely at what has been damaged, as the fate of some items is not necessarily the fate of others.

Impact of truck cartel on transport sector
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 10 April 2019

Daimler, MAN, Volvo/Renault, DAF, Iveco and Scania are facing billion-dollar damages claims from carriers for illegal price fixing. To date, more than 7,000 transport companies from 26 countries have filed over 300 claims in excess of €1 billion in the German courts. However, the spillover effects on the transport sector remain unclear. A recent Dortmund Regional Court decision provides much-needed clarity in this regard.

ADSp 2003, 2016 or 2017 – which version is valid?
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 23 January 2019

The German Freight Forwarders' Standard Terms and Conditions (ADSp) are a joint body of recommendations for shipping industry associations and freight forwarders. However, given that there are (at least) three versions – namely, ADSp 2003, ADSp 2016 and ADSp 2017 – many companies struggle to clearly identify the ADSp on which they should base their services.

Carriers' liability for implementing safety instructions
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 09 January 2019

A recent Bremen Regional Court decision serves as a stark reminder to carriers that all contractual obligations, particularly those relating to security instructions, must be fulfilled and that any carrier found to have breached these obligations could face unrestricted liability in the event of damages. Carriers should carefully assess the feasibility of implementing any listed safety instructions before accepting transport contracts.

Shipshape: tour operators not liable for gym injuries sustained during sea swells
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 19 December 2018

The Koblenz Higher Regional Court recently confirmed that tour operators cannot be held liable by cruise passengers for gym injuries sustained during large swells. The decision re-emphasises the fact that ships shift constantly at sea and that all passengers should therefore take appropriate care while on board – particularly during large swells – as failure to do so may deny them the ability to claim damages if an accident occurs.

CMR versus Civil Code: five or nine percentage points above basic lending rate?
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 12 December 2018

The Verden Regional Court recently sentenced a forwarder to pay full compensation plus interest calculated at nine percentage points above the basic lending rate under the Civil Code. Upholding the forwarder's appeal, the Celle Higher Regional Court held that the interest rate should be reduced to five percentage points above the basic lending rate, which is more in line with interest claims under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road.

A deal is a deal: compensation claim for alleged consignment loss or damage
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 24 October 2018

While settling claims out of court to avoid losing customers is becoming standard practice in the shipping and transport industry, such payments should not be made prematurely – particularly if the carrier's responsibility for the damage is unclear. In most cases, the opposing party interprets such goodwill payments as an acknowledgement of debt at a later stage in the proceedings. Therefore, carriers are advised to draw up a brief compensation declaration to avoid having to compensate twice.

No liability for late delivery where loading readiness is agreed as subject to vessel availability
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 03 October 2018

In its capacity as a court for inland navigation, the Mannheim District Court recently settled a dispute between an inland waterway carrier and a sender. The sender had instructed the carrier on short notice and despite the express statement by the carrier that its vessel was not yet available. According to the court's interpretation of the transport contract, the flexibility agreed in respect of loading readiness was to be understood as an exemption of liability for late delivery.

CMNI transport documents must specify weight
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 19 September 2018

The Federal Court of Justice recently clarified a number of issues under the Budapest Convention on the Contract for the Carriage of Goods by Inland Waterway – most importantly, the determination (calculation) of the limitation per weight of goods. According to the court, only the weight specified in the transport document can be invoked; if no weight is mentioned in the transport document, the carrier must rely on the limitation per package.

Gap closed – no further risk for forwarders
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 12 September 2018

The German Freight Forwarders' Standard Terms and Conditions (ADSp) 2017 are designed to protect forwarders and close any potential liability risk gaps, particularly for organisations involved in air transport. In order to clarify the issue of whether the ADSp 2003 applied only to transport that was governed by German law, the updated ADSp stipulate that they do not apply to international transport.