28 January 2008

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Working Group Adopts New Draft Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea

VIENNA, 28 January (UN Information Service) - The UNCITRAL Working Group on Transport Law adopted on Thursday, 24 January, the draft convention on contracts for the international carriage of goods wholly or partly by sea, which will soon be circulated to Governments for comment and will be presented to the annual session of the Commission (New York, 16 June to 3 July 2008) for a final round of negotiations with a view to the draft convention being presented to the General Assembly for conclusion later in 2008.

Since 2002, UNCITRAL's Working Group on Transport Law has been working in close cooperation with interested international inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations to prepare a legislative text on issues relating to the international carriage of goods. The draft convention was prepared over a number of sessions spanning the years from April 2002 to its finalization this week in Vienna.

The draft convention on contracts for the international carriage of goods wholly or partly by sea aims to create a modern and uniform law concerning the international carriage of goods which include an international sea leg, but which is not limited to port-to-port carriage of goods. In addition to providing for modern door-to-door container transport, there are many innovative features contained in the draft convention, including provisions allowing for electronic transport records, and other more technical features to fill the perceived gaps in existing transport regimes. It is expected that harmonization and modernization of the legal regime in this area, which in many countries dates back to the 1920s or earlier, will lead to an overall reduction in transaction costs, increased predictability when problems are encountered, and greater commercial confidence when doing business internationally.


The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Its mandate is to remove legal obstacles to international trade by progressively modernizing and harmonizing trade law. It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement and infrastructure development. UNCITRAL also provides technical assistance to law reform activities, including assisting Member States to review and assess their law reform needs and to draft the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria, and maintains a website at www.uncitral.org.

  * *** *

For information contact:

Jenny Clift, Senior Legal Officer
UNCITRAL Secretariat
E-mail: jenny.clift@uncitral.org