Hamburg Rules

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Hamburg Rules
United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea
Signed 31 March 1978
Location Hamburg and New York
Effective 1 November 1992
Condition Ratification by 20 states
Signatories 28
Ratifiers 34
Depositary UN Secretary-General
Languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish

The Hamburg Rules are a set of rules governing the international shipment of goods, resulting from the United Nations International Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea adopted in Hamburg on 31 March 1978.[1] The Convention was an attempt to form a uniform legal base for the transportation of goods on oceangoing ships. A driving force behind the convention was the attempt of developing countries' to level the playing field. It came into force on 1 November 1992.[2]


The first of the international conventions on the carriage of goods by sea was the Hague Rules of 1924. In 1968, the Hague Rules were updated to become the Hague-Visby Rules, but the changes were modest. The convention still covered only "tackle to tackle" carriage contracts, with no provision for multimodal transport. The industry-changing phenomenon of containerization was barely acknowledged.[3][4] The 1978 Hamburg Rules were introduced to provide a framework that was both more modern, and less biased in favour of ship-operators. Although the Hamburg Rules were readily adopted by developing countries, they were shunned by richer countries who stuck with Hague and Hague-Visby. It had been expected that a Hague/Hamburg compromise might arise, but instead the more extensive Rotterdam Rules appeared.

Relation with other conventions[edit]

Article 31 of the Hamburg Convention[5] covers its entry into force, coupled to denunciation of other Rules. Within five years after entry into force of the Hamburg Rules, ratifying states must denounce earlier conventions, specifically the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules.

A long-standing aim has been to have a uniform set of rules to govern carriage of goods, but there are now five different sets: Hague, Hague-Visby, Hague-Visby/SDR, Hamburg and Rotterdam. (The Rotterdam Rules are not yet in force). Only an optimist would expect such uniform adoption within the foreseeable future.[6][7]


As of October 2014, the convention had been ratified by 34 countries:[8]

Country Comments
23x15px Albania
23x15px Austria
23x15px Barbados
23x15px Botswana
23x15px Burkina Faso
23x15px Burundi
23x15px Cameroon
23x15px Chile
23x15px Czech Republic
23x15px Dominican Republic
23x15px Egypt
23x15px Gambia
23x15px Georgia
23x15px Guinea
23x15px Hungary
23x15px Jordan
23x15px Kazakhstan
23x15px Kenya
23x15px Lebanon
23x15px Lesotho
23x15px Liberia
23x15px Malawi
23x15px Morocco
23x15px Nigeria
23x15px Paraguay
23x15px Romania
23x15px Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
23x15px Senegal
23x15px Sierra Leone
23x15px Syria
23x15px Tunisia
23x15px Uganda
23x15px Tanzania
23x15px Zambia


  2. UNCITRAL Homepage
  3. Hague-Visby Rules: Article IV Rule 5c
  5. Hamburg Rules
  6. Maritime Law - 2014 - ed. Yvonne Batz
  7. Maritime Law Evolving - 2013 - ed. Malcolm Clarke
  8. The Jackson Parton Miscellany -

External links[edit]

de:Haager Regeln#Weitere Entwicklung (Hamburg- und Rotterdam-Regeln)