Chapter 6 Maritime law: present and future
English maritime law is rooted in history, but it applies in the present and must look to the future. Maritime trades have changed considerably over the last half century, and the law has to apply to situations that are very different from those that obtained 50 years ago. There are respects in which the law has not adapted well to recent changes. The rate of change will probably accelerate over the coming decades, and this will present new legal challenges. This chapter examines recent and likely future developments.
Multimodal transport (sometimes referred to as combined or intermodal transport) pre-dated containerisation, but it took off as a result of the container revolution. Containerisation was invented in the 1950s and became the norm, outside the bulk cargo trade, in the 1960s and 70s. Container transport differs in significant respects from the bulk carriage model that forms the basis of the CIF and FOB contracts that are the backbone of Chapter 2 of this book. It also sits uneasily with the ship’s rail to ship’s rail voyage that would have been the norm when the Hague Rules were drawn up.1
With multimodal transport, the containers are typically sealed and unloaded inland, so that the operation involves a land leg, a sea leg, and, once the sea voyage has been completed, a further land leg. Article 1(1) of the United Nations Convention on International Multimodal Transport of Goods (1980) (MMTC) (on which see, further, section [126.96.36.199]) requires...
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