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Updated conditions of carriage brought in by Road Hauliers Association

The Road Hauliers Association has updated their Conditions of Carriage for 2020, reflecting changes in the law and their members' experience using them.

The RHA has recommended members incorporate these new terms into all their consignment contracts, making it explicitly clear to their customers at the outset that they will be using these terms and conditions when carrying or storing goods. The update is important from an insurance perspective as insurance premiums and cover for hauliers reflect the conditions of carriage.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Such is the reliability and scope of the conditions; they are recognized as the industry standard. By using them you are insuring your liability, not the goods. Customers need to take out their own insurance to cover their goods.”

The major changes to Conditions of Carriage are:

  • The period of transit is redefined as commencing after the consignment has left the premises from which they were collected and ending upon arrival at the place of delivery, with the customer having risk in the goods outside this period.
  • The list of excluded liabilities has been expanded, to include contractual penalties, loss of profits, and other types of consequential loss.
  • A new definition of force majeure has been introduced to exclude the carrier’s liability in certain defined situations. The carrier is excluded from being found liable for loss or damage done to goods that arise from the loading onto or unloading off the vehicle or from overloading the vehicle. Under these terms the customer would also indemnify the carrier against any loss, damage, death or injury that might arise during loading and/or unloading.
  • The term ‘demurrage’ has been clarified to take account of extra costs which carriers may wish to charge as a consequence of the detention of a vehicle. A new requirement has been introduced for the customer to pay the carrier’s incurred costs and expenses in the event of cancellation.
  • There is a new clause requiring the customer to provide warranties in respect of the safety of the consignment, while the Lien clause has been made clear to ensure there is no doubt the carrier has the right to hold the goods and sell them on. It should be noted that Liens remain a contentious area of law.

Simon Thew, managing director of W Denis Insurance Brokers, said: "It is important for hauliers to keep their terms and conditions up to date and to ensure that they are always incorporated into the consignment contracts, one of the most common area of disputes relating to freight insurance claims relates to whether the hauliers terms and conditions were valid at the time of loss."


Daniel Moss, associate director, is the W Denis point of contact for any enquiries. Contact him at or on 0113 2437243.

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