Transportation law is not a simple topic and the courts are constantly working on the regulation of the diverse laws and conditions while also taking into account many different modes of transport for companies involved in this transportation chain.
This is why we would like to give you a small overview of some of the most important legislations in transportation law. (Subject to modifications and errors)Until the adoption of the transportation law reform enacted by German lawmakers on September 25, 1998, each mode of transport (via air, sea, rail, and road) had its own liability regulations and conditions.
Nonetheless, it is nearly impossible to specifically regulate all transportation contracts with just one law, especially since many different modes of transport could be used, such as a transportation via trucks (road), via train (rails) with the harbor as interim destination from where Ro/Ro-ships take off to their final destination (via water). Naturally, the issue of respective liability in case of possible damages, losses, etc. should be governed by all laws and conditions. You may look up some sample points on various transportation laws and conditions on our homepage. Among other things, we have inserted the entire conditions of the ADSp, for instance. If needed, we would separately provide you with the complete regulations regarding your specific request, of course. Some of the most important laws and regulations are as follows:
CMR (Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road)
Originally, CMR stands for “CONVENTION RELATIVE AU CONTRAT DE TRANSPORT INTERNATIONAL DE MARCHANDISES PAR ROUTE,” thus regulating road transports. 27 countries have joined or entered in this intergovernmental agreement and, with this, accepted the most important law in the transport trade. All rights and obligations between customer and contractor are governed by the road transport law. You will find the CMR here.
GüKG (Road Haulage Legislation)
The BAG (Federal Office for Goods Traffic) is responsible for the compliance with all relevant laws and regulations on the road for vehicle owners and drivers. In the GüKG, you will find all the details and regulations for the transport of goods, which are transported, in terms of a business or in return for payment, by vehicles with a maximum permissible weight of 3.5 tons, which is not of much importance for either the customer or contractor of the transport business. You will find the GüKG here.
HGB (Code of Commercial Law)
Inter alia, §407 to §466 of the HGB regulates transport businesses, that is rights and obligations between customers and contractors involved in the transportation process. However, CMR regulations have priority over HGB in international road transport trade, whereas HGB serves as underlying law for national traffic. You will find an extract from the HGB here.
ADSp (General German Freight Forwarding Terms and Conditions)
The terms and conditions of the ADSp are agreed upon by the unions of haulage companies and carriers, thus making it a “mutual arrangement.” ADSp serves forwarders as terms of trade in their latest version, and insurers and courts would consider these terms to be basis of already completed contract drafts, reverting to them for reaching verdicts. ADSp is the most important regulation for a forwarding agency. 94% of all forwarders operate on that basis, while 84% of all carriers assume that the ADSp is valid for the transportation contract (according to information supplied by It. DIHT in 1999). The complete text of the ADSp can be viewed here.
VBGL (Contractual Conditions for Freight Transport and Logistics Operators)
Recommendations of the BGL (Federal Freight Transport and Logistics Association) for all member companies. Mainly of interest for participating carriers and customers. However, the VBGL has to be previously and expressly agreed upon, otherwise it cannot take effect.
BSK (General Conditions of Business of the German Group of Heavy Transport and Crane Work)
Recommendations of the Federal Specialist Group for Heavy Loads and Crane Work for all member companies. Mainly of interest for participating carriers and customers. However, the BSK has to be previously and expressly agreed upon, otherwise it cannot take effect. Because of specific necessities, such as authorization procedures that are not being regulated by other laws and conditions, the General Terms and Conditions of Business of the BSK govern the specific requirements present in heavy transport and crane work.
CIM (International Agreement on Rail Freight Transport)
Originally, CIM stands for “CONVENTION INTERNATIONALE CONCERNAT LE TRANSPORT DES MARCHANDISES PAR CHEMIN DE FER,” thus regulating rail transports. The convention entered into force on January 1, 1965, constituting the legal base for the conclusion of freight contracts in the intergovernmental goods transport by rail. Inter alia, between customer and contractor.