Carriage of Goods

The international carriage of goods is regulated by international convention. The domestic carriage of goods is governed by the Carriage of Goods Act 1979. Where the carriage has both domestic and international components, the Act applies until the point of the goods' departure or from the moment of their arrival.

The Act establishes four different types of contract for the carriage of goods, each of which determine responsibility for loss or damage to the goods and the extent of that responsibility. These contracts are:

  1. "At owner's risk", where the carrier will not be liable for the loss or damage to goods at all, unless the carrier intentionally causes the loss or damage.
  2. "At limited carrier's risk", where the carrier's liability is limited to the amount set out in the Act, which is presently $1,500 for each "unit of goods".
  3. "At declared value risk", where a carrier will be liable for the loss of or damage to goods up to an amount specified in the contract.
  4. "On declared terms"", where the carrier will be liable for the loss or damage to goods in accordance with the specific terms of the contract.

Determining precisely what a 'unit of goods' is, is sometimes difficult, or disputed following loss. The point at which control is exercised by a carrier is also a critical matter. In addition, the status of a third party, such as a cool store operator, must also be determined. Sometimes, such a third party has no responsibility for carriage whatsoever, and cannot be made liable for loss on that basis. They may, however, be liable under other causes of action such as negligence. Talk to Rennie Cox if you have suffered loss as a result of carriage of goods.