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Trucking Industry UK

Changes to RHA’s conditions of carriage

Changes to RHA’s conditions of carriage

How many of us bother reading the terms and conditions that affect our working days? Probably not that many.

However, depending on the industry, T&Cs relating to our working lives can have a bigger impact on some of us than others.

Take the terms and conditions of carriage, for example. These are the lifeblood of many companies associated with freight haulage and most carriers are members of the relevant bodies. So, those carriers may be interested to hear that changes to the Road Haulage Association’s (RHA’s) conditions of carriage may have consequences for carriers’ liabilities.

Freight transport liability insurer TT Club has highlighted changes to three clauses in the latest version of the RHA’s conditions of carriage:

        Protecting carriers’ obligations if delays in transit result from the customer’s omission

        Clarifying the issue of liabilities for loading and unloading cargo from a vehicle

        Providing a useful definition of “commencement of transit” with its implications for liability in case of damage or loss prior to that point

Speaking about the changes, Mike Yarwood, managing director for TT Club’s loss prevention department explained that although relatively minor, these changes could have a “significant impact on the liabilities sustained by carriers under certain circumstances.”

Yarwood uses the example of Brexit, which has led to a number of errors with documentation, causing the delay. Under clause 5 (4) the new conditions, he explained, “a carrier has the right to suspend or possibly even terminate the performance of the service [and] damages such as loss of business and driver’s wages could be claimed from the customer.”

Meanwhile, clause 4 states that unless agreed otherwise in writing, responsibility for loading and unloading cargo rests with the customer. 

Clause 7 sees a change to the definition of commencement of transit to mean after the cargo has left the collection premises. This change will be welcomed by carriers when no secure parking is available on the way to a destination.

Hauliers and other stakeholders are being urged to make sure their own trading conditions align with these new provisions.

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