The Standard P&I Alert
The United States State Department completed its "ratification package" for the Rotterdam Rules.
The package has been sent to the Maritime Administration, the Federal Maritime Commission, and the Department of Justice for inter-agency review. It is anticipated that the review will be complete by the end of July and will then go up the chain at the State Department and to the President.
The President will then send them to the Senate for its advice and consent. Given the delays so far, it is risky to make a prediction, but the Rotterdam Rules have now cleared a significant hurdle on their way to ratification by the US.
If and when the US ratifies them, the remaining major trading nations are expected to follow.
The Rotterdam Rules are the first rules governing the carriage of goods by sea and connecting or previous transport by land. This land leg used to require separate contracts. Responsibility and liability during the whole transport process are clearly demarcated. Furthermore, the Convention puts in place the infrastructure for the development of e-commerce in maritime transport. This will lead to less paperwork. The shorter turnaround times will reduce the chance of errors and lower costs.
The Rotterdam Rules are the result of inter-governmental negotiations that took place between 2002 and 2009. These negotiations took place within the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) after the Comité Maritime International (CMI) had prepared a basic draft for the Convention. On 11th December 2008, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Rotterdam Rules.