Swedish government looks into the Rotterdam rules

The Swedish government has appointed a investigator to find out whether Sweden should accede to the Rotterdam Rules. The aim of the Rotterdam Rules is to extend and modernize existing international rules and achieve uniformity of International trade law in the field of maritime carriage.

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The governmental directions states:

"There are many indications that Sweden should accede to the Rotterdam Rules. The access to the Rotterdam Rules can be expected to result in regulation of freight transport by sea to be modernized, particularly at the international level.

The Rotterdam Rules are also prerequisites for uniform international rules for transport of goods by sea. This is particularly desirable because of the international character of shipping. Sweden can thus help to give the shipping industry and the Swedish industry in general better opportunities to engage in trade with a control that is tailored to the requirements of modern logistics.

An application of the Rotterdam rules regarding jurisdiction requires a special declaration from the incoming government. The provisions on jurisdiction are covered by the EU's exclusive competence and the application of these would result in the need for authorization from the EU to accede to the Rotterdam Rules. The starting point for the investigator must therefore be that any explanation on the application of the rules on jurisdiction is not to be emitted.

A State may also, after a special declaration commit themselves to implement the Rotterdam rules regarding arbitration. These provisions have a close connection with the Convention's control of the judicial authority and the starting point should be against this background that any explanation nor be given in that regard.

The timing of a Swedish access
The assignment also includes proposing when Sweden should accede to the Convention.

Rotterdam Rules have not yet entered into force. In the current situation, only a few states have ratified the Convention. This is probably due to several states await the trade politically important states to act on the issue. For example, countries like Denmark and Norway have prepared the bill in question, but not yet acceded to the Convention.

Since an important objective of the Rotterdam Rules is to create a uniform international regulation of freight transport, Sweden should also take into account how other, for Sweden trade politically important countries, choose to act. Given that the Swedish legislation on the carriage of goods by sea is based on a Nordic cooperation, Sweden should take particular regard to the other Nordic countries' position on the access issue."