New website of AIYON Abogados on Ship Arrest

AIYON Abogados has launched a new website devoted to the management of the ship arrest, both to request its lifting as well as to proceed with its execution. Thus, those interested in learning about and, when needed, in using this efficient legal tool that guarantees the recovery of a debt (International Convention on Arrest of Ships, 1999) may obtain all relevant information on www.shiparrestrelease.com

The concept of arrest of ships entails the detention of any kind of vessel by judicial authorities in cooperation with maritime authorities of the place where the vessel is located. Given the usual brevity of the vessel’s port call and the internationality of the maritime sector as well as of its operators, the possibility to take an anticipatory and urgent legal action, such as arrest of ships, allows for an easy recovery of a debt from shipowners and shippers. The same urgency involves the reverse procedure when the action is taken from the position of shipowners and shippers. 

Our multidisciplinary team of lawyers, comprising of professionals of renowned prestige and with a large trajectory as experts in Maritime Law is here at your entire disposal to assist any query or initiate any action related to ship arrest or to arrange the lifting of the measure on a vessel.    

Royal Decree 339/2021, of May 18, regulating the safety and pollution prevention equipment on recreational craft

From the relentless technological evolution of the equipment to be installed on recreational craft along with the latest update coming from Europe on recreational craft and marine equipment, derives the new Royal Decree 339/2021 of May 18, regulating the safety equipment and pollution prevention of recreational craft  published today May 19, 2021, and whose entry into force is set for next July 1, 2021.

For the purposes of this RD, recreational craft will be considered all types of vessels which, regardless of their means of propulsion, have a length between 2.5 and 24 meters, have been designed and intended for recreational and sporting purposes, and which do not carry more than 12 passengers.

The main objectives include, on the one hand, the determination of the equipment for the prevention of pollution of the marine environment and the safety equipment for navigation, rescue and fire protection, as well as the distinction of the requirements for such equipment. And, on the other hand, the establishment, in a clear and precise way, of the obligations of the shipowners in relation to them.

Regarding the novelties included in this Royal Decree, developed in six chapters and several final provisions, the extension of its scope of application stands out (art. 2), which will be extended: (i) to recreational vessels that are registered or pre-registered in Spain; (ii) to those that carry out an activity for commercial or lucrative purposes in maritime waters in which Spain exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights or jurisdiction, regardless of their flag State; (iii) and that navigate in Spanish internal maritime waters or the Spanish territorial sea, regardless of their flag State, and that are owned or have their use and enjoyment, natural or legal persons with residence or registered office in Spain.

Therefore, it will apply even to those vessels that, flying a foreign flag, sail through Spanish waters and the owner or the person who is actually using the vessel has a connection with Spain. As can be deduced, the aim is to avoid the escape of recreational vessels to foreign flags with more lax requirements in terms of safety and pollution prevention.

It also highlights the reference to the responsibility of owners and skippers in relation to the maintenance of the boat and safety and prevention equipment, in terms established in this Royal Decree, ensuring in any case that the boat is always in a position, to go to sea without danger to the maximum people authorized on board.

In addition to developing the sections of Rescue Equipment, Navigation Equipment, Fire Safety Equipment and means of rescue and Pollution Prevention, the regulation includes the determination of the penalty system applicable in case of infringement. To this end, it specifies and graduates the infringements already established in the Consolidated Text of the Law of State Ports and Merchant Marine, approved by the Royal Legislative Decree 2/2011, of September 5, which facilitates the determination of the corresponding penalties to be imposed, which will range from 100 € to 3,000 €.

The Single European Sky

In the late 1990s, among other initiatives, Europe decided to promote the creation of the single aviation market and the Single European Sky initiative.

The “Single European Sky” initiative aims primarily at reducing the fragmentation of European airspace, thereby increasing its capacity and the efficiency of air traffic management and air navigation services by reducing flight times, reducing flight costs and aircraft emissions, separating regulatory functions and service provision, interoperability of equipment, harmonised upper airspace classification and establishing common requirements for the licensing of air traffic controllers.

Until the late 1990s, air transport was carried out under the supervision and control of the national authorities of each country, and international air transport was mainly based on bilateral agreements between countries.

The evolution in Europe came with the signing of the “Single European Act” when national markets became a single competitive market for air transport. At that time, national airlines gave way to Community airlines and it was established as a basic principle that any Community airline could freely set fares for passengers and cargo, as well as access any route within the European Union, without any express permission or authorisation.

Both the European Parliament and the European Council have been key in this context. Indeed, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union recognises in article 100.2 the ability of the European Parliament and Council to lay down such provisions as they deem appropriate in relation to aviation.

In the field of the common conditions of competition, some of the common rules adopted to ensure the proper functioning of the European aviation system would be:

  1. The proposal for a Regulation on safeguarding competition in air transport and repealing Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 was published in June 2017.
  2. Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 and its amendments.
  3. Directive 96/67/EC.
  4. Directive 2009/12/EC.
  5. COM (2017) 0289, mechanism to ensure fair competition between Union air carriers and third countries.

In the area of passenger protection, the steps taken and to be assessed are:

  1. Creation of a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
  2. The harmonisation of security requirements in all European Union airports.
  3. Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, aimed at protecting passenger rights.

These initiatives are expected to bring benefits for operators, carriers, passengers and shippers. Benefits such as tripling airspace capacity by 2035, reducing the cost of air traffic management, multiplying the safety of the sector and even reducing the environmental impact of air aviation. Examples of some of the improvements that can already be observed to date include:

  • The reduction of the average en-route delay caused by traffic flow management.
  • The decrease in average arrival delay caused by air traffic flow management.
  • The average length of the direct horizontal route has started with a downward trend.
  • The improvement of cost efficiency.

However, there are still some areas for further improvement, such as the shortcomings of the slot allocation system; avoiding that most routes departing from an airport in the Union continue to be operated by only one or two airlines; reducing the financial difficulties faced by airlines and some airports (which have increased alarmingly in these complex times of pandemic we are experiencing); improving the supervision of some airlines currently operating in some Member States.

There is no doubt that European airspace has developed to an important extent in recent years, creating a trend that has not yet been implemented in other continents despite the great efforts that have been invested in this direction.

Although there is still a long way to go, global airspace is moving towards union, transversality and sustainability, thus facilitating the intermodality of means of transport, the reduction of costs (economic, personal and environmental), as well as the development of new technologies, which undoubtedly results in a more positive progress of society.

Direct Action by the Effective Carrier against the Principal Sender in case of Bankruptcy proceedings of an intermediary carrier

The Additional Provision Sixth of Law 9/2013, of 4th July, which amends Law 16/1987, of 30th July, related to the Spanish Land Transportation Regime (“LOTT) establishes the right of the effective carrier to claim, for the unpaid part of the price of the carriage, against the principal “sender” and all those parties that have preceded him in the contract chain, in case of lack of payment by his contractor. This provision has been analysed in various occasions by the Spanish Supreme Court (in judgement such as nº 644/2017, of 24th November, and 248/2019, of 6th May) as reported by Aiyon Abogados in the past.

The Spanish Supreme Court has stated, in the aforementioned judgments, that the direct action of the effective carrier, of the Additional Provision Sixth of LOTT, is not limited to the amount owed by the principal sender to the intermediary as the goal of the Provision is to provide a guarantee to final carriers who are considered to be the weakest link of the chain. For this reason, this direct action has been configured as a supplementary payment guarantee.

Recently, however, in its judgment nº 4405/2020, of 29th December, the Supreme Court has had the chance to examine the effect of bankruptcy proceedings in the direct action of the effective carrier. In this judgement, the Supreme Court analyses once again the Additional Provision Sixth of LOTT and corroborates that such Provision does not make any exceptions for bankruptcy proceedings. The Supreme Court also notes that, after the Additional Provision Sixth, the Amendments approved in the Bankruptcy Laws did not include carrier’s direct action amongst those that cannot be exercised once bankruptcy protection has been afforded. Since it considers that this direct action is not analogous to the action of the person that provides work and material to a contract against the owner of the works, which cannot be prosecuted once bankruptcy proceedings have been initiated, the Spanish Supreme Court confirmed the option to exercise the direct action by the effective carrier when the intermediary carrier is in bankruptcy regardless of whether the principal sender has previously paid or not its contracting party.

BREXIT: The New European Scenario

The European Union ended the year 2020 with breaking news. It was the agreement reached “in extremis” with the United Kingdom on the management of trade relations after 1st January 2021; the date on which, after approximately 4 years of extensions and postponements, BREXIT would finally enter into force.  

After arduous negotiations, on 24th December, Ursula Von der Leyen (President of the European Commission) and Boris Johnson (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) announced that an agreement had been reached, avoiding so the much feared “Hard Brexit” or “extreme Brexit”, whereby the United Kingdom would leave the European Union without a previous agreement.

There is no doubt that the close trade relations that exist between the two territories have produced significant pressure which has led to this final agreement. In any case, whether by means of a global agreement or by means of sectoral agreements, trade relations with the United Kingdom would ultimately be signed since UK is a vital trading partner for the European Union. In fact, for Spain, the United Kingdom is the fifth in the scale of its trading partners, moving (between imports and exports) over 32 billion Euros during 2019. 

The importance of this agreement arises, to a certain extent, from the fact that thanks to it, bilateral trade relations can be maintained without customs duties or quotas, an aspect that is of particular interest to exporters and importers, but which in general affects the whole society, since the costs to be assumed in import operations, as well as in export operations, will always have an impact on the final cost and customer. However, this agreement does not prevent bureaucratic, administrative, and fiscal procedures from being multiplied due to this departure. Examples of it are customs declarations, sanitary and phytosanitary controls, and the payment of VAT on the declared value of the goods at the time of import.

In other words, since 1st January 2021 the United Kingdom is a third country for the European Union, and as it happens with goods entering and leaving third countries outside the EU, the Spanish Customs Authorities will have to ensure that they are informed on and have control of the goods that are to be introduced into their territory and, consequently, into the European Union. 

This information about entries and exits will generally be provided by the company carrying out the transport of the goods (shipping companies, airlines, or land carriers) and must coincide with the presented customs declarations. In fact, efficiency and speed in the transmission of this information will be key to facilitating border formalities and thus avoiding discontinuities and delays, which for now are unavoidable. Companies that usually trade with importers or exporters from third countries outside the Union are already aware of the formalities required for these operations.

 

TRADE AND COOPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE EUROPEAN ATOMIC ENERGY COMMUNITY, ON THE ONE HAND, AND THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, ON THE OTHER HAND

With respect to the Agreement reached, we would like to highlight its second part, which includes aspects related to trade, transport, fishing and other provisions that are of interest to our sector with the aim of facilitating trade of goods between the parties and maintaining liberalized trade to the extent agreed in the Agreement. 

To this end, different aspects are addressed, such as:

  1. The recognition of the freedom of transit through their territories to persons with nationality of either Party. 
  2. The prohibition of customs duties, that is, a Party may not adopt or maintain any duties, taxes and other charges imposed on the exportation of a good to the other Party or in connection with such exportation, or any tax that is higher than the tax or charge that would be imposed on similar goods but destined for domestic consumption. 
  3. With respect to taxes and charges, the Parties may not assess these amounts ad valorem, but may simply charge such taxes and charges limited in amount to the cost of the services rendered and shall not constitute indirect protection of domestic products. There are exceptions for some specific services.
  4. Agree that the Parties may not impose restrictions, prohibitions or monopolies on imports or exports of goods destined for the territory of the other Party (except Article 11 of the GATT 1994). 
  5. That each Party shall determine in its territory the customs value of the goods of the other Party. 
  6. To create rules for determining the origin of goods for the purposes of applying preferential tariff treatment and to establish origin procedures. 
  7. Agree on the sanitary and phytosanitary measures to be applied on goods imported into the Parties to this Agreement. 
  8. Ensure customs cooperation for trade simplification. To this end, measures such as the rapid release of goods, the presentation and advance electronic processing of documentation, the promotion of the association of authorized economic operators, the establishment of the single window, the facilitation of roll-on-roll-off traffic, etc., are taken. 

Although this agreement regulates many aspects of interest for the sector, there are other things that it does not resolve and that are fundamental for the correct development of commercial relations. In particular, we would like to make special mention of the exequatur or recognition of foreign judgments, as well as the jurisdiction applicable in the resolution of disputes between the Parties. 

Given the transcendence that an incorrect choice of the applicable jurisdiction may imply for the subjects involved in international trade operations, from AIYON Abogados we would like to recommend all agents involved in trade with the United Kingdom, before starting a new commercial relationship, to make express agreements where the jurisdiction to which they will submit their disputes is agreed. In case of pre-existing commercial relations, we recommend analysing whether the jurisdiction agreed upon at the time is still the best for the defence of their present and future commercial interests.

Royal Decree 927/2020, of 27 October, which extends the scope of the action of Ship Inspection and Survey Organizations, and modifies Royal Decree 877/2011, of 24 June, and Royal Decree 357/2015, of 8 May

States are responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag are designed, constructed and maintained in compliance with the safety requirements established in the conventions and instruments approved within the IMO. To carry out these tasks, they are supported by the classification societies.

The regulation of classification societies in Spain is contained in articles 97 and 107 of Law 14/2014, of 24 July, known as the Spanish Shipping Act. It is algo applicable the Royal Decree 877/2011, issued following European Directive 2009/15/CE, of 23 April 2009, that establishes unified rules and regulations for organizations in charge of inspection and recognition of vessels, and various European Regulations, such as Regulations (EC) 336/2006, of 15 February 2006, y (EU) 1257/2013 of 20 November 2013.

The main purpose of Royal Decree 927/2020 is to establish in which cases a recognized organization can act in the name of the Spanish Maritime Administration The aim is to reduce waiting times for obtaining the obligatory certificates and to improve the competitiveness of ships flying the Spanish flag as these cannot see their activity affected by delays in carrying out necessary inspections. The new international Conventions and EU Regulations affecting maritime safety and prevention of contamination of the marine environment require more flexibility and delegating on these organizations.

The cases in which recognized organizations may be authorized to carry out ship surveys on behalf of the Spanish General Directorate of the Merchant Navy (GDMN) are as follows:

a) When a Spanish ship is in a foreign port and needs to extend the term of validity of any mandatory certificate as the expiration date approaches.

b) When a Spanish ship is dedicated to making trips between foreign ports and its transfer to a national port is detrimental to its commercial exploitation, to carry out any of the mandatory surveys.

c) When a Spanish ship, due to breakdowns or other causes of accident, must be recognized abroad.

d) When a Spanish ship is built or carries out transformation, reform or major repair works abroad.

e) When a Spanish ship calls in a Spanish port on non-working days or outside working hours, or for any other reason, the surveys cannot be provided by the inspection services of the Harbour Master Office.

f) When, in light of logistical conditions, to adapt to its procedures or the need for agility in the operation, the company so decides.

g) When a ship is abroad and requests to be flagged in Spain.

h) When a company has its head office abroad.

In addition to the above, authorized organizations will be able to control that the rules for the management of the operational safety of a vessel are followed and will be able issue and renew the maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance Part I, referred to in the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

Transport Insurance: Limiting Clauses vs Delimitation Clauses

Transport insurance is characterised by the principle of universality of risk, that is, the object of the insurance will be the damage that can be suffered by the goods during or as a consequence of the transport, without any other precision and independently of the nature of the incident occurred. In this context, the clauses delimiting the insured risk emerge. These should be differentiated from the limiting clauses of the insured party’s rights.

The character of the delimiting clauses consists of stipulating: (i) which risks constitute the object of the contract; (ii) in what amount; (iii) during what period; (iv) in what time frame. That is to say, the objective of these clauses is to individualise the risk and establish its objective basis, eliminating possible ambiguities and specifying the nature of the risk in coherence with the object of the contract.

This type of clause will never delimit the insured risk in any way that is  contradictory to the particular conditions of the contract or in an infrequent or unusual way (Sentence STS 853/2006 of September 11, STS 1051/2007 of October 17, STS 598/2011 of July 20 and STS 273/2016 of April 22).

With respect to the limiting clauses, their character is completely different since their main objective is to condition or modify the insured party’s right. The main characteristic of these clauses is that for the insured party they imply the introduction of exclusions that go beyond the natural content of the contract, restricting, conditioning or modifying his right to receive the compensation or benefit guaranteed in the contract (Rulings, STS 273/2016 of April 22, STS 58/2019 of January 29, STS 609/2019 of November 14 and STS 421/2020 of June 14).

Contrary to what might be expected, the limiting clauses are accepted by Spanish regulations and are perfectly valid as long as they comply with the requirements of the Law of Insurance Contracts. Specifically, Article 3 of the mentioned regulation states that the clauses limiting the rights of the insured party must be specially highlighted and must be specifically accepted by both parties in writing.

The jurisprudence of the Supreme Court: Limiting clauses vs Delimitation clauses

Before starting the jurisprudential analysis of the validity and characteristics of the different clauses included in insurance policies and which affect in a direct way the rights of the insured party, we consider to be relevant to study a prime and practical example where we can observe the difference between the delimitation and limiting clauses: the requirement to subject the vehicle and the cargo to “due vigilance” during the transportation. A concept that represents a clear example of how insurance companies try to limit and consolidate their policies, through their clauses, so that the insured party guarantees a cargo transport that fulfils some minimum and general security requirements.

When considering the requirement to subject the vehicle and its load to “due vigilance”, an obligation that is imposed on the insured party in the agreed coverage, the first thing that should be emphasised is that its interpretation is not uniform or steady, since each insurance company will determine the characteristics or requirements it will demand from the insured party. However, we can outline some common patterns that are recurrent in most of the policies, which we set out hereafter:

– The vehicle must be completely and properly closed.

– The vehicle must have all the locking, alarm and locking devices available to it in proper working order and use.

– The vehicle may not be parked in inappropriate and tentative areas, that is lonely, poorly lightened areas with uncontrolled entrance, not subject of surveillance, etc.

– The vehicle must be parked primarily in a monitored parking, in a completely closed garage or building or in a solidly built and locked area.

– If the insured party proves the impossibility to park in an appropriate place, it is possible to accept other options of parking if: the vehicle is parked with other lorries, in properly-lighted areas adjacent to establishments open 24 hours a day, provided that the driver spends the night inside the vehicle, etc.

Having analysed the requirements stipulated in the transport insurance policy, the question to ask is: are these delimiting or limiting clauses?

Already in 2017, we published an article on the validity of the limitation of coverage of insurance policies for the transport of goods due to the lack of due vigilance during road transport (“Limitation of coverage due to lack of due vigilance during road transport“). At that time the Supreme Court, with its ruling of 7 November 2017 (STS 590/2017) recognized that there were two opposing interpretative criteria regarding the qualification of such clauses:

1. Those that consider that these clauses are delimiting for the purpose of the insurance.

2. Those that consider that these clauses are limiting the rights of the insured party.

At that time, the Supreme Court opted for the second interpretation, establishing an interpretative criterion for the rest of the courts. That means, it considered that the clauses that developed the concept of “due vigilance” limited and modified the rights of the insured party. The Judgement of November 7, 2017, reads as follows: “The clause that is the object of the dispute cannot be qualified as a clause that delimits the risk, given that its content, interpreted systematically, does not adjust to the nature and function of these clauses, that is, it does not attempt to individualize the risk of theft of the goods and to establish its objective basis. On the contrary, the criterion which it incorporates, in a decisive manner, apart from establishing or defining the objective basis of the risk, limits the cover initially agreed with the establishment of a regulation which departs from the natural content of the contract concluded, and from what may be considered usual or deriving from the introductory or particular clauses”.

Now, three years later, the Supreme Court, once again, ratifies this criterion by means of its Ruling of October 22, 2020 (STS 3415/2020), in which the limiting character of these clauses is reiterated and it is stated: “With respect to the distinction between clauses that delimit coverage and limiting clauses, the delimitation clauses specify the object of the contract and establish the risks that, in the event of its occurrence, cause the insured party to have the right to the benefit because it constitutes the object of the insurance. While the limiting clauses restrict, condition, or modify the insured party’s right to compensation or the benefit guaranteed in the contract, once the risk covered by the insurance has occurred. (…). The regulation of the insurance contract for land transport of goods itself establishes a series of material, temporal, and spatial exclusions and limitations: damage due to the intrinsic nature or inherent defects of the transported goods (Art. 57.2 LCS); carrying out the journey within the time limit (Art. 58 LCS); carrying out the transport within national territory (Art. 107.1.a LCS). These legal limitations, together with the intrinsic purpose of this insurance modality of compensation for material damage that the transported goods may suffer on the occasion of or as a consequence of the transport, make up its natural content. Whereas the rest of the limitations, which are usually more or less literal and extensive transcriptions of national or international forms (in this case, according to the policy itself, of the Institute Cargo Clauses, of the Institute of Insurers of London) suppose the introduction of exclusions that go beyond the natural content of the contract and, therefore, are limiting clauses, in the sense and with the effects foreseen in art. 3 LCS. As we have already stated in the aforementioned ruling 590/2017, of 7th November. 6.- Consequently, we must conclude that a clause such as litigious clause, which established a series of determining factors (places and times of parking, locked premises, surveillance, etc.) to the coverage of the risk in the event of theft of the goods, is a limiting clause of the insured party’s rights, and not merely one that delimits them”.

Although the criterion applied by the Supreme Court is clear, in the lower courts these clauses remain a controversial concept and that is because limiting clauses are every time broader and their presence is very frequent in insurance policies in general.

For all these reasons, we recommend that users (insured parties) duly analyse every type of insurance policy offered to them, particularly what regards the limiting clauses contained in the policy, before agreeing to any type of insurance contract. To this effect, you can always count on the assistance and advice of our law firm, AIYON Abogados.

Useful Guide to Stowage for Road Transport of Goods

Already in 2006, the European Union estimated that 75% of the goods transported by vehicles on its roads were not properly stowed. What is more, it then calculated that 1 of 4 accidents involving vehicles fitted out for the transport of goods had their origin in deficient stowage.

Cargo stowage is considered the adequate placement, distribution, protection and fixing of goods inside a container or vehicle so that they can safely arrive to their destination, under the custody of the carrier. 

This has always been an ill-defined, imprecise term and has led to various interpretations. In response to this, the courts have accumulated multiple sentences with contradictory definitions in relation to the interpretation of the concept itself, as well as with respect to the similarities or differences in relation to others, such as the lashing of the goods.

On the one hand, there are courts that understand that lashing and stowage are different concepts for which different agents may be responsible (Murcia Provincial Court – Decision 88/2016 or the Supreme Court – Decision of 22 November 2006), yet, on the other hand, there are courts that consider that lashing is an intrinsic part of stowage and, therefore, must be carried out by the loader as part of his duties (Barcelona Provincial Court – Decision of 30 April 2015). 

Although the situation has improved, this is still a burning issue and we need to work on it. For this reason, the Basque Government, together with the Institute for Cargo Safety and other agents and institutions in the sector, has promoted the creation of a complete Basque Guide for Road Transport of Goods, which we believe can be very useful for the agents involved in these tasks and in the area of transport.

The Guide is based on four general rules, as follows: 

– Directive 2014/47/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the technical roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the Union and repealing Directive 2000/30/EC

– Law 15/2009, of 11 November, on the contract for land transport of goods.

– Law 16/1987, of 30 July, on the Regulation of Land Transport.

– Royal Decree 563/2017, of 2 June, which regulates the technical roadside inspections of commercial vehicles circulating in Spanish territory.

In addition, the guide is divided into several chapters which, among other matters, deal with aspects such as stowage tools; damage caused by deficient stowage; who is responsible for the cargo, stowage and lashing; or what criteria are used in the inspections and how they are carried out. Furthermore, it tries to clarify, to the most possible extent, the controversies raised by this term, and to this end it provides the following list of aspects that are considered to be inherent to the concept of STOWAGE: 

– Verification of the packaging, check that it is suitable for the transport of goods 

– Protection, if necessary. 

– Loading into the vehicle. 

– Conditioning of the goods for transport.

– Stabilisation, if necessary. 

– Adequate weight distribution. 

– Fixing and immobilisation of goods.

– Checking during the journey, and subsequent tightening if necessary.

The Guide promotes that the loader makes a correct description of the goods and ensure that it is correctly packed (paying particular attention to dangerous goods). In addition, they must ensure that the vehicle and the fastening equipment used for the transport are suitable and that the person or entity in charge of loading the goods onto the truck is duly informed of everything. 

Regarding the duties of the loader, these basically consist of two concepts: (i) the review prior to loading and (ii) the review of the operation at the end of the loading and before initiating the transportation.

Finally, and with respect to the responsibility of the Carrier, even if this has not assumed the tasks of loading and unloading the goods in the means of transport, it is required to: (i) carry out a visual inspection of the truck and the goods to ensure that there is no lack of security; (ii) ensure that the vehicle can provide all certificates and markings, if necessary; (iii) check periodically the securing of the transported goods; (iv)  carry out loading, stowage and lashing only in the event of express agreement and prior to the presentation of the vehicle. 

The eternal question of who is responsible for incorrect stowage and/or lashing is answered in Article 20 of Law 15/2009, of November 11, on the Contract for Land Transport of Goods. This answer is still being worked on as it does not convince many of the agents involved in road transport, for whom the possible handling of the cargo by the carrier should be left without effect. The current response given by Law 15/2009 is clear: “The operations of loading the goods on board the vehicles, as well as those of unloading them, shall be carried out by the loader and the consignee, respectively, unless these operations are expressly assumed by the carrier before the actual presentation of the vehicle for loading or unloading. The same applies to the stowage and unstowage of the goods“.

In other words, if no express agreement is made prior to loading, the loader will be presumed to be responsible for securing of the goods. This is also ratified by RD 563/2017 and the subsequent clarifications of the “DGT” (Directorate General for Traffic), see our articles “Inspection of the securing of cargo on trucks, clarification by the DGT”  and “R.D. 563/2017, of 2 June 2017, Technical inspection of commercial vehicles

Similarly, article 21 of Law 15/2009 reinforces this interpretation, considering that it will be the loader who must prepare the goods for transport, just as it will generally be the receiver of the goods who will be responsible for their rejection at destination, unless expressly agreed otherwise.

As we can see, the Guide is very extensive in its content and presents a very high degree of details, by which it attempts to stipulate a common terminology and criteria which will help to establish greater legal security in the sector, as well as it aims to improve the practices, training, and competitiveness of operators and shippers, and the purpose of all this to promote a more professional and safe road transport of goods.

The European “MOBILITY PACKAGE” and changes in the Land Transport Ordering Law (LOTT)

After the intense legislative changes that the different regulations have undergone in recent months due to the new reality imposed on us by COVID-19, there are now several definitive changes in the area of land transport, adopted to renew and adjust national and European regulations to current needs.

Firstly, we must mention the “Mobility Package” approved on 9 July by the European Parliament, a package that includes two regulations and a directive whose main objective and purpose is to definitively achieve a single, fair and loyal European transport market, ensuring that all companies in the sector have the same competition rules regardless of their country of establishment.

In the first place, there is EU Regulation 2020/1054 of 15 July 2020 amending Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 as regards minimum requirements on maximum daily and weekly driving times, minimum breaks and daily and weekly rest periods and Regulation (EU) No 165/2014 as regards positioning by means of tachographs, which entered into force partially on 20 August, with the exception of Article 1. 15 and Article 2.12 which will enter into force on 31 December 2024, amending the regulation on driving and rest periods and positioning by means of tachographs, in order to generate clear, appropriate and proportionate rules which are uniformly enforced in order to achieve the strategic objectives of improving drivers’ working conditions and, in particular, to ensure fair competition between operators and contribute to road safety.

Furthermore, we have EU Regulation 2020/1055 of 15 July 2020 amending Regulations (EC) No 1071/2009, (EC) No 1072/2009 and (EU) No 1024/2012 in order to adapt them to developments in the road transport sector, which will enter into force on 21 February 2022 and which, among other things, aims to combat the phenomenon of so-called “letterbox companies” and to ensure fair competition and a level playing field in the internal market by ensuring that road transport operators established in a Member State have a real and continuous presence in that State by carrying out their activities from there. It is therefore necessary to strengthen the provisions relating to the existence of an effective and permanent establishment.

Finally, there is EU Directive 2020/1057 of 15 July 2020, which lays down specific rules with respect to Directive 96/71/EC and Directive 2014/67/EU for the carriage of drivers by road, and which amends Directive 2006/22/EC with respect to enforcement requirements and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012. This directive essentially regulates the posting of workers in the inland road transport sector and for it to enter into force it must be accepted by the individual states before 2 February 2022, by which date they should have adopted and published all the regulatory and administrative measures necessary to ensure compliance with the directive.

In addition to the above, it is planned to amend the Inland Transport Regulation Act (LOTT) by modifying its content in order to bring the scales of penalties already laid down into line with the new offences provided for in the above-mentioned package of measures. Examples of this are offences relating to driving times and rest periods.

Furthermore, due to the international financial crisis resulting from the pandemic, on 15 September 2020 the Council of Ministers approved the urgent administrative processing of the amendment of the LOTT to include a penalty system against late payment in the road haulage sector. This is because many transport companies have seen their liquidity seriously affected since last March when the health crisis affected their regular traffic and it is clear that, if urgent measures are not taken, their economic situation may be aggravated by non-compliance with the payment deadlines agreed in transport contracts.

AIYON Abogados collaborates with the “ICLG Shipping Laws and Regulations, 2020”

Our partners of Madrid and Bilbao offices, Veronica Meana and Mikel Garteiz-goxeaskoa, have participated in the chapter dedicated to Spanish Law of the ICLG Shipping Laws and Regulations: 2020,publication which covers common issues in the area of Shipping law in forty jurisdictions.

Among these common issues are: the regulation of maritime casualties, cargo claims and passenger claims, the regulation of ship arrest and procedural issues such as the collection of evidence, judicial and other dispute resolutions methods applicable to maritime claims and the enforcement of court judgments and arbitration awards.

Please click here to have access to the publication: