Carrier’s Liability, Cargo Insurance, and Container Liability

Carrier’s Liability, Cargo Insurance, and Container Liability are three distinct types of insurance coverages related to the shipping and transportation of goods. Each serves a specific purpose in mitigating risks associated with the transportation of cargo. Here’s an overview of each:

  1. Carrier’s Liability:
    • Definition: Carrier’s Liability refers to the legal responsibility of a transportation company (carrier) for the goods it transports.
    • Coverage: This type of liability is usually governed by international conventions or national laws. It outlines the carrier’s obligations and liabilities, including limitations on liability for loss, damage, or delays during transportation.
    • Limits: The liability limits may vary depending on the Law or mode of transportation (sea, air, road, or rail) and the applicable international conventions (e.g., Hague-Visby Rules for maritime transport). Carriage of Goods Act 1979 is a factor.
  2. Cargo Insurance:
    • Definition: Cargo Insurance is a type of insurance that protects the financial interests of the owner of the goods (shipper or consignee) against loss or damage to the cargo during transportation.
    • Coverage: It provides coverage for various perils, including theft, damage, or loss of goods, and may include coverage for damage caused by natural disasters, accidents, or other unforeseen events.
    • Customisable Policies: Cargo insurance policies are often customisable to meet specific needs, and they can cover both domestic and international shipments.
  3. Container Liability:
    • Definition: Container Liability refers to the responsibility of the party in possession of a shipping container for any loss or damage to the container or its contents during transportation.
    • Coverage: This can include damage to the container itself, as well as damage to the goods inside the container due to issues such as improper handling, stacking, or securing of the cargo.
    • Container Interchange Agreement: In some cases, parties involved in containerized shipping may enter into Container Interchange Agreements, which outline responsibilities and liabilities for the use and return of containers.

Key Considerations:

  • Combined Coverage: Depending on the circumstances, cargo owners may choose to have both Carrier’s Liability and Cargo Insurance to ensure comprehensive coverage.
  • Legal Framework: Carrier’s Liability is often governed by international conventions, while Cargo Insurance operates under contractual agreements between the insured party and the insurance provider.
  • Customisation: Cargo insurance policies can be tailored to the specific needs of the shipper, providing flexibility and broader coverage options.

It’s important for businesses involved in international trade and transportation to carefully review their insurance needs and consider the specific risks associated with the movement of goods. Working with insurance professionals who specialise in shipping and logistics can help ensure that appropriate coverage is in place to protect against potential losses and liabilities.

Types of Cartage

The provided information outlines key aspects of the Carriage of Goods provisions in New Zealand, particularly after the integration of the Carriage of Goods Act 1979 into Part 5, Subpart 1 of the Contract & Commercial Law Act 2017. Here’s a breakdown of the important points mentioned:


  1. Goods:
    • Includes all things of value, such as animals, plants, baggage, money, and documents.
  2. Carrier:
    • The person who, in the ordinary course of business, carries goods owned by another person, organises the carriage, or performs incidental services.
  3. Actual Carrier:
    • A carrier in possession of the goods for the purpose of performing the carriage or any incidental service.
  4. Contracting Party:
    • The consignor or consignee who has entered into the contract with the contracting carrier.
  5. Contracting Carrier:
    • The carrier who has entered into the contract with the contracting party.
  6. Unit of Goods:
    • Defined based on the type of cargo (bulk or containerized) and the method of unitization.

Types of Contracts:

Four types of contracts for the carriage of goods are defined:

  1. At “Owner’s Risk”:
    • The carrier is not liable for loss or damage unless intentionally caused.
  2. At “Declared Value Risk”:
    • The carrier is liable up to a specified amount in the contract.
  3. On “Declared Terms”:
    • Liability is according to specific terms negotiated between the parties.
  4. At “Limited Carrier’s Risk”:
    • The carrier’s liability is limited to $2,000 for each unit of goods.

Liability of the Contracting Carrier:

  • Liability begins when the goods are accepted for carriage.
  • Ends when delivered to the consignee or, in the case of unpaid charges, upon notification that delivery is ready.

Liability of the Actual Carrier:

  • Actual carriers are separately liable from acceptance until tendered to the next carrier or until certain conditions are met.
  • Joint liability when more than one actual carrier is involved during the contracting carrier’s responsibility period.

Limitation of Liability:

  • The liability of the contracting carrier and actual carriers is limited to $2,000 for each unit of goods unless a contract at declared value risk or declared terms specifies a different amount.
  • The limitation does not apply to intentional loss or damage, consequential damages, or other liabilities specified in the contract.

Liability of Carrier’s Employee:

  • Employee liability is limited to intentional loss or damage in the course of employment.

Actions Against Carriers:

  • Written notice of alleged loss or damage must be given within 30 days of the carrier’s responsibility ending.

This summary provides an overview, and for detailed information or legal advice, it’s recommended to consult the relevant legal texts or seek advice from legal professionals.