Multimodal Transport Reform and the European Union: A Treaty Change Approach

Bevan Marten | Ost Colloquium: Multimodal Transport

In Europe, liability issues arising from the international carriage of goods are primarily governed by separate multilateral conventions for each mode of transport. This creates problems where multimodal transport is concerned because the relationship between these conventions is not always clear, for example, in cases where damage occurring to goods in transit cannot be localized. With no global solution to the complexities of multimodal transport in sight, the European Union has been moving slowly towards some form of intervention in this area for its twenty-seven Member States. This Article examines two variations of an approach the E.U. could work toward as part of a longer-term multimodal transport strategy, involving amendments to Europe’s road and rail transport conventions. The first is aimed at addressing the issue of conflicts between the conventions, the second at allowing application of the road or rail regime across an entire multimodal shipment (the so-called “unimodal plus” approach).