The government of India ratified the Hague Visby rules 1968 which necessitated the enactment of a favorable legislation. On the basis of the U.N convention of 1980 the multi modal transportation of goods act 1993 was enacted. This law was made effective from 16th October 1992.
There are several provisions in the act which protects the rights and interest of exporters. It defined both a carrier and multi modal transport operator's that they cannot be get confused by the exporters. Registrations of M.T.O. are also made compulsory and hence provide certain condition for being a multi modal transport operator. Freedom to make multimodal transport document either negotiable or non negotiable are also given to exporters. On the other hand it also overcomes the short comings of Hague Visby rules by including animals container and pallets of transport in the definition of goods. The basis of liability has been changed to presumed fault or neglect in the same way as in Hamburg's rule. All the exceptions like fire perils act of god etc under which the ship or carrier could exonerate have been done away.
M.T.O is liable not only for delay but also for any consequential loss or damage arising out from such delay. The exporters can claim for the loss of goods if goods are not received within 90 days from the date of stipulated period of delivery.
Limits of liability in case of loss or damage as 666.67 SDR per package or unit or 2 SDR per kg of weight. Limits of liability in case of loss to consignment by air kept as 8.33SDR per kg in accordance with Warsaw convention. Notice period for such loss or damage to the consignment kept as 6 consecutive days. The short notice period can't be stated in the interest of exporters.
Further more the consigner or a person entitled to receive the goods on his behalf can bring action against MTO within nine months of the stipulated time period.
Multimodal Transport Of Goods act,1993 tries to promote export trade by facilitating the transport regulations, documentation and system, but the best result can be achieved when the exporters become aware of there rights and participate actively in protection of their interests. Any loss to exporters is national loss and all efforts should be made to stream line the system, weed out the problems and suggests necessary amendments if any.
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