On 17th April 2018, we published a post about the entry into force of the Royal Decree no. 563/2017 related to the technical roadside inspections of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in Spain. This article supplemented the previous post published on 13 June 2017 “Royal Decree n. 563/2017 of June 2nd 2017, “Technical Inspection of Commercial Vehicles”.
The Royal Decree no. 563/2017 gave rise to controversial situations given that article 11 places clear responsibilities on the shipper or the carrier regarding the correct securing of the cargo for all vehicles in general, and for commercial vehicles in particular. Article 11 states: “Cargo securing inspection: 1. during a roadside inspection a vehicle might be subject to a cargo securing inspection, in accordance with annex III, in order to verify that the cargo is secured so that it does not interfere with safe driving, nor poses risk to life, health, property or environment. “
That is why the Spanish Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) has clarified, by means of the Instruction 18/TV -103 of 19th June on “Responsibility scheme in cargo securing in public transport of goods“, that, together with the Royal Decree nº 563/2017, the Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicle and Road Safety Act, adopted by the Royal Legislative Decree no. 6/2015 of 30 October, as well as the specific Regulation on Road Transport, Law 15/2009 of 11 November on Contract of Road Transportation of Goods, which establishes the general scheme of application regarding the subjects under the obligation to carry out the stowage of the cargo , are fully applicable. In general terms, Law 15/2009 establishes that the stowage of the cargo shall be carried out by the shipper (Articles 20 and 21) unless the carrier explicitly takes on the operations before the actual appearance of the vehicle for loading. Notwithstanding the above, in parcel services or any other similar services that involve the collection and delivery of a reduced number of parcels that can be easily handled by a single person without the aid of any machine or tool on board of the vehicle, the cargo stowage will bethe responsibility of the carrier in any event.
In the light of the above, the shipper will generally be liable for inadequate cargo securing in public transportation of goods; and so will the carrier when a reduced number of packages in parcel services or any similar services is being handled. The shipper will only be exempt from liability if it provides documented evidence of an explicit agreement that can certify that the carrier had taken responsibility for these operations.
This instruction, which came into force on 20th June 2018, undoubtedly provides more certainty for road hauliers.