SLM looks at the impact of Covid-19 on the transport activities by starting from the contracts for the international carriage of goods by road governed by CMR Convention in relation to the force majeure events.
The article attached aims provide the Italian companies with the guide lines to be adopted in order to grant the health and safety in the working place following the spread of Covid-19 with special focus on the transport and logistics industries.
The Italian Chambers of Commerce can issue, upon request from the interested companies, specific declarations on the state of emergency due to COVID-19 epidemic (“force majeure certificates”) in order to justify the impossibility to fulfill the contractual obligations within the agreed contractual terms. These declarations will be issued in English language in case Contracts entered with foreign parties.
On 3 April, the European Commission published a decision helping Member States affected by the coronavirus pandemic to temporarily suspend customs duties and VAT on protective equipment, testing kits or medical devices such as ventilators. The measure will apply for a period of six months, with a possibility for further extension.
All Member States, as well as the UK, have agreed to lift customs duties and VAT on imports of necessary medical equipment during the crisis.
The exemption will be applicable from 30 January 2020 until 31 July 2020.
The “Free Sanitary Practice” is the necessary authorization for any commercial or passengers ship to berth at Italian Ports. Studio Legale Mordiglia provides the operators with a brief guide on the operational aspects of simplification of the said authorization granted by the Italian law during the Covid-19 emergency.
The COVID-19 pandemic has crucially impacted the performance of contractual obligations. The fast paced evolution of COVID-19 gives rise to events that affect a party’s ability to exclude contractual liability for non-performance through either legal provisions or force majeure clauses. In this scenario, Studio Legale Mordiglia considers it would be useful to provide the operators, who are dealing with claims for non-performance of contracts governed by Italian law, with some basic advice on the concept of force majeure according to Italian civil code (see the article attached).
Judgement n. 7149 dated 13 March 2020 of the Italian Supreme Court clarified a number of issues relating to 1989 London Salvage Convention.
First, the Court confirmed that the Convention applies also to purely domestic salvage cases.
Second, the Court stated that the Convention can be supplemented by national legislation on certain issues indicated in the Convention itself, one of which being the joint liability of the owners of the salved goods.
Third, the Court considered the long debated issue of the existence or not of joint liability of the owners of the salved goods. In this respect the Court restated the law by holding that: a) the owner of the ship is the “main debtor” and therefore can be liable also for the portion of the salvage award relating to cargo, b) cargo owners are liable only for the portion of the salvage award relating to their own goods.
On January 30 2020 Prof. Avv. Marco Lopez de Gonzalo and Avv. Marco Lenti, both partners of Studio Legale Mordiglia, attended as speakers at the event Shipping Forwarding & Logistics meet Industry 2020, illustrating respectively several current issues on “Transport, infrastructure and anti-trust rules between competition and competitiveness” and “Contracts and smart contracts, a legal perspective“.
Marco Lopez de Gonzalo, partner of Studio Legale Mordiglia, published an article on Diritto del Commercio Internazionale vol. 4/2019 entitled “Spazio giudiziario europeo e forum non conveniens: una difficile convivenza (United Kingdom Supreme Court, 10 Aprile 2019)”. The case originates from a proceeding involving two defendants, respectively domiciled in UK and in Zambia. While the jurisdiction concerning the first one has been undisputedly established pursuant to art. 4.1 of the Regulation (EU) no. 1215/2012 on the basis of the forum non conveniens, the UK Supreme Court decided to discretionally assess the jurisdiction concerning the second defendant, by taking into account specific elements, such as the connection between the claims (considered relevant but not decisive) and the need to provide, upon the occurrence of peculiar conditions ,”substantial justice” to the involved parties. Mr. Lopez draws on the decision at stake in order to reflect on the forum non conveniens doctrine.
On April ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) started a review process, ended on September 30th, with the aim of increasing various liability limits set by the 1999 Montreal Convention.
Article 22 of the Montreal Convention provides the air carrier’s liability limit in the event of delay for baggage and goods.
Paragraph 1, with reference to the transport of persons, has brought the liability limit from 4 150 to 4694 SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) per kilo.
As to the transport of baggage the carrier’s liability, in case of destruction, loss, deterioration or delay, has been increased from 1000 SDRs per passenger to 1131.
Paragraph 3 instead, in relation to the transport of goods, has brought the liability limit from 19 SDRs to 22.
The aforementioned limits will come into effect from 28th of December 2019.
Below the official ICAO communication: