On 2 – 3 November 2017, the twenty-third EMLO (European Maritime Law Organization) annual conference (“Global Alliances: Policy considerations, Brexit and Competition Law”) will be held in Hamburg at CARLS an der Elbphilharmonie and NRV Yacht Club. Marco Lopez de Gonzalo, with a presentation on Shipping Finance, will attend the conference as speaker. A summary of the event can be found here.
By judgement no. 21850 issued on 20th September 2017, the Italian Court of Cassation held that the relationship among the air carrier, handling operator and cargo interests does not give rise to a contract for third parties benefit, thus excluding the existence of a contractual relationship between the handling operator and cargo interests. The Court based its decision on the assumption that the handling operator must be qualified just as a carrier’s servant, so that the contractual liability for loss of and/or damage to the goods can be claimed to the carrier only. As a carrier’s servant, the handling operator is subject to the 1999 Montreal Convention and can take advantage of the same exemptions and limitations of liability which are provided in favor of the air carrier.
By judgement no. 21622 issued on 19th September 2017, the Italian Court of Cassation held the validity of an agreement for the choice of jurisdiction referred to in a link contained in an e-mail purchase order. Said judgement is in line with the recent EU Court of Justice case law, according to which this way of concluding agreements for the choice of jurisdiction complies with Art. no. 23 of (EU) Reg. Brussels I, pursuant to which “any communication by electronic means which provides a durable record of the agreement shall be equivalent to writing”. The Court of Justice therefore clarified that the insertion of said agreements in general terms and conditions that can be downloaded through the access to a web site does not prevent the parties to print and save the text of their agreement before the conclusion of the contract, thus allowing its durable record. The judgement of the Italian Supreme Court is going to have significant effects also on tourism and transport of passengers, where the on-line conclusion of contracts is getting very frequent.
By Ministerial Decree issued on 6th April 2017, Italy implemented the EU Directive no. 2015/719 on weight and dimension of commercial road vehicles. In order to prevent the overloading, the new regulation provides the shipper’s obligation to submit to the truck driver a statement certifying the weight of the shipped container; moreover, specific weight detection equipment shall have to be installed on board from 27th May 2017. As to the dimension, the new discipline allows the excess of the maximum length for vehicles equipped with aerodynamic devices. The Ministerial Decree also includes a definition of “multimodal transport” as the combined transport of one or more container up to a maximum length of 45 feet.
By a regulation approved on 7th June 2017, the Italian Government implemented the (EU) Directive no. 2014/90/EU on seagoing equipment. The new regulation has the purpose to improve maritime safety, prevent marine pollution through the uniform application of international instruments relating to seagoing equipment (to be installed on board the vessels flying the flag of any EU Member State) and to ensure the free movement of such equipment within the Union. Moreover, the new Regulation establishes the Supervisory Authority to evaluate and deal with the risks arising from marine equipment on the market and on board European ships.
Bunker transfers between Italian companies in connection to ship bunkering, even in case an intermediary is involved, fall under the VAT exemption regime as provided by Article no. 8-bis, par. D), of the Italian VAT Decree, provided the performance of a commercial activity and the navigation on high seas (as specified in the Resolution no. 2/E issued on 12th January 2017 by the Italian Revenue Agency). As previously clarified by the Resolution no. 1/E (issued by the Italian Revenue Agency on 9th January 2017), the new EU Customs Code does not require anymore the adoption of the export procedure for ship supplies (Art. no. 269, par. 2, lett. C, EU Regulation no. 952/2013), thus preventing the possibility to apply for the export presumption as provided by the previous regulation, which referred to the exemption title as provided by Article no. 8, par. A), of the Italian VAT Decree.
BIMCO (Baltic and International Maritime Council) and ISCO (the International Spill Control Organisation) have recently issued two standard contracts, RESPONSECON and US RESPONSECON. The two contracts, RESPONSECON (international version) and US RESPONSECON (United States version), are designed for spill incidents and enable those involved to obtain clean-up services and hire specialised personnel and equipment without delay. The contracts are framework agreements covering the essential elements of the parties’ relationship based on the contractor’s provision of equipment and personnel or even for hire of equipment only. Application of the contract is not limited to shipping incidents or ship-owners counterparties. Requesting Parties may include pipeline operators, oil companies, regional and national government authorities, and other entities that may have a requirement to initiate spill response. The terms and conditions are set out in standard clauses with accompanying annexes for the different parties to insert detailed descriptions of the required services and rates for personnel and equipment.
From 26th June 2017 to 1st July 2017, the “Genoa Shipping Week 2017″ will be held at Palazzo San Giorgio and Palazzo Ambrogio Di Negro in Genoa. From Tuesday 28th June 2017 to Friday 30th June 2017, the most important personalities of the main sectors of the maritime, logistics and port cluster will participate and, as speakers, will give several presentations on the main issues of shipping. Marco Lopez De Gonzalo, partner of Studio Legale Mordiglia, will attend the panel on “The role of investors for the development of port and logistics infrastructures“.
EU Commission extended to public funding in ports and airports the application of the 2014 General Block Exemption Regulation, which enables Member States to implement a wide range of State aid measures without prior Commission approval because they are unlikely to distort competition. This amendment aims to facilitate public investments in sectors (such as ports and airports) that can play a significant role for job creation and growth whilst preserving competition. As regards airports, Member States can now make public investments in regional airports handling up to 3 million passengers per year and cover operating costs of small airports handling up to 200 000 passengers per year. With reference to ports, Member States can now make public investments of up to Euro 150 million in sea ports and up to Euro 50 million in inland ports; moreover, public authorities are now to cover the costs of dredging in ports and access waterways.
The application of royalties to customs value is still subject to the extensive interpretation by Italian Customs despite the publication by the European Commission (TAXUD / B4 / (2016) 80878128 April 2016) of the Guidelines to the new Customs Code, that clarify the rules under which the royalty can or must be added to the price of imported goods.