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International transport law

Transport law in particular governs business relationships in freight traffic between railway traffic companies and their customers and between railway traffic companies themselves.

The basis of international freight law is the COTIF Agreement of 1999  COTIF 1999.

The "Uniform legal provisions for the contract on the international rail conveyance of freight" form an important component (ER CIM, Appendix B to the agreement).

A relevant freight letter must be used with the entry into force of the ER CIM 1999 in 2006. You can find a sample with explanations here.

The ER CIM fundamentally cede the content and design of the transport contract to the contractual partners. In contrast to before entry into force of the ER CIM, a consignment obligation  only exists with relevant party agreement. International traffic agreements are usually referred to as “Customer agreements“. These agreements also govern the payment of transport costs – such as freight, additional fees, customs and other costs – which must be prescribed by a relevant payment remark in the freight letter for the individual consignment contract.

The sender is obliged to make payment in the absence of an agreement on the freight costs (remuneration). If the recipient agrees to bear the costs, the sender remains responsible until the recipient has redeemed the consignment note, has requested delivery or granted a subsequent order.

According to the applicable provisions, the right of disposal already lies with the recipient of the consignment from issuing of the consignment note if the sender has not entered a different instruction in the consignment note.

In the event of an impediment to consignment, the person with the right of disposal is authorised to issue instructions. In many cases, the carrier may decide on obtaining an instruction. To ensure that the sender remains the contact person for DB Cargo AG even in the event of impediments to consignment and to prevent delays in the processing of the contract, DB Cargo AG stipulates the following entry of an instruction in the consignment note as standard procedure: The sender has the sole right of disposal,

until the consignment has left the country of dispatch according to field 16 or field 56 of the CIM consignment note.“ The dispatch country for this purpose is the country in which conveyance begins according to the CIM consignment note. Information in the CIM consignment note on the right of disposal deviating from this must be commissioned by the sender in writing.

DB Cargo AG stipulates its own business conditions for international traffic. These can be found in Chapter 3.1 of the General Service Conditions of DB Cargo AG (ALB)“

In Chapter 3.2 these conditions also contain the "General Conveyance Conditions for International Railway Freight Traffic - ABB CIM". The provisions of the "CIM-consignment note (GLV CIM) handbook", developed by agreement with the railway traffic company and international customer associations of the international railway transport committee - the CIT – apply to the completion of the CIM consignment note.