Maritime Law in Germany

Maritime Law in Germany

Updated on Monday 14th September 2015

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Maritime-Law-in-GermanyThe new maritime legislation in Germany

The first German Maritime Law was enabled in 1968 and is also a signatory member of the 1924 Hague Rules in order to comply with international maritime standards. However, the country renewed its Maritime Law in 2013 which is now comprised in the German Commercial Law and a clear distinction is now made between the domestic maritime legislation and the international Hague Rules. One of the greatest advantages of the new Maritime Law is that it was simplified and contains clearer regulations. The new Maritime Law was also created in order to modernize and simplify vessel registration procedures for private ship owners and German companies.

Changes in the German Maritime Law

One of the major changes brought to the German Maritime Law refers to the exclusion from liability in case of errors in navigations or fire. According to these new provisions, parties that have concluded an agreement under the new German law may be excluded from liability under certain circumstances. The new Maritime Law also allows parties to introduce new terms referring liability issues in their contract. The law provision one of the party will be held accountable for any losses only while the goods are in their custody.

The German Maritime Law also provisions for new parties, called carriers, which can be involved in the transport of goods. The actual carrier, which is also the most important, is the party transporting a cargo partially or fully without being a contracting carrier. Actual carriers may act as:

  • - sub-carriers,
  • - terminal operators,
  • German companies owning charter boats.

The actual carrier will be held liable like a contract carrier, according to the new German law.

Transport documents under the German Maritime Law

The new Maritime Law in Germany also contains two new changes with respect to transport documents. The first clause specifies a German company acting as an actual carrier concluding a charter party contract must include the terms of the contract in a bill of lading. The second change refers to the issuance of electronic bill of lading and seaway bills.

For information about all the changes brought to the Maritime Law and its effects, please contact our lawyers in Germany.