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CHAPTER 2 Combined transport

CMR: Contracts for the international carriage of goods by road

Page 55


Combined transport


2.1 Combined transport, sometimes referred to as intermodal or multimodal transport, occurs where goods are transported successively by two or more different methods of transport. This may be either by transferring the goods from one method of transport to another, or alternatively by placing the one means of transport on to another for part of the transit. CMR only makes partial provision for combined transport operations in Article 2, since this provision only covers the latter variety of combined transport, so-called piggy-back operations. Partly as a result of this, Article 2 is not a satisfactory provision and is the source of considerable problems. These provisions are, of course, of particular significance for this country since, unlike other European countries, all shipments of goods to and from the United Kingdom must be subject to a combined transport operation, as the existence of the Channel and the North Sea means that all goods must be transported by sea, air or rail for at least some part of the transit.1 A more comprehensive regime for combined transport was established by the United Nations Convention on International Multimodal Transport of Goods,2 but this failed to enter into force and in any event would not have applied to such contracts for international carriage as are subject to the CMR Convention by virtue of Article 2.3 More recently the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea 2008 (The Rotterdam Rules) has been adopted. Similarly it would not apply to contracts covered by Article 2.4 However, should it come into force it will have implications for where part of a multimodal contract includes international carriage by road. The issues regarding this possibility will also be considered in this chapter. Initially, however, attention must turn to Article 2.

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