The Netherlands has historically been a friendly jurisdiction for Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) carriers. However, there are some exceptions. In certain circumstances, a claimant may be able to rely on a carrier's 'strengthened obligation to furnish facts'. The Den Bosch Appeal Court recently held that a CMR carrier had such a strengthened obligation in order to enable the claimant to meet its burden of proof regarding (the fault equivalent of) wilful misconduct.
Under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR), carriers are liable for the total or partial loss of goods or damage to goods that occurs between the carrier taking charge of the goods and delivery. The Court of Amsterdam recently held that the word 'damage' in the relevant sections of the CMR presumes substantial physical change to the state of the goods and ruled out, in this case, that a broken seal on a container represented damage.
The loading and unloading of cargo from ships is a key element in the transport chain. However, ships are sometimes damaged during these operations. This raises the question of whether – and on what grounds – a terminal operator can be successfully held liable for such damage. A recent Rotterdam District Court decision upheld the standard of liability established in Dutch case law, confirming that the burden of proof lies with the shipowner when it comes to demonstrating terminal operator liability.
Ports in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp region are historically known as ship arrest paradises. However, there are developments in connection with conservatory measures which are less well known and that have not been extensively reported on. These developments concern securing evidence following a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2013, which has served as a starting point for several cases.
Flying the Dutch flag has unfortunately become less popular with shipowners over the past 10 years. Although the exact reasons for this fall in popularity are unknown, the presumption that flying the Dutch flag is limited by the location of the vessel's owner may be a contributing factor. However, although on the face of it only European shipowners appear to be able to obtain a nationality certificate, the scope for flying the Dutch flag is actually much wider.