Danish transport law

Freight transport can be carried out as road freight, sea freight, rail transport or air freight.

National Road Freight Transport

If the road transport has both origin and destination in Denmark, it is national transport. The transport is not covered by mandatory law, rather there is contractual freedom in this area.

International road freight transport

International road haulage falls under the “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road – CMR”. The carriage is international when it is carried out between several Member States, at least one of which is a Contracting State to the Convention.

The carrier is relieved of this liability if he proves that the loss, damage or delay was caused by the fault (intentional or negligent) of the customer or consignee, by instructions of the consignor or consignee, by the nature of the goods or by circumstances which the carrier could not avoid or the consequences of which he could not prevent.

In the case of visible damage, the recipient must complain immediately, in the case of invisible damage in writing within 7 days. If the consignee does not complain in time, the consequence is that the condition of the goods will be determined as correct as stated in the bill of lading.

If the delivery time is exceeded, the recipient must notify the carrier in writing within 21 days, otherwise the right to compensation loses.

The limitation period is 1 year, or 3 years in the case of intent or carelessness. Claims must be asserted in court within this period.

In the event of loss or damage, the carrier’s liability is limited to 8.33 special drawing rights (SDR) per kilogram of goods damaged or lost.

If the delivery time is exceeded, the carrier’s compensation is maximized to the amount of the freight.

Sea ​​freight

In Denmark, maritime law is governed by Maritime Law no. 856 of 01 July 2010.

Chapters 13 “Carriage of Goods” and 14 “Chartering of Ships” build on the 1924 Hague Rules and the 1968 Visby Rules. The 1978 Hamburg Rules have had an impact on the law, but they are not incorporated into the law as none of the Scandinavian countries have ratified the agreement.

The Maritime Law distinguishes whether it is a matter of carriage of goods under Chapter 13 or chartering of ships under Chapter 14, including voyage and time charters, or carriage of passengers and baggage under Chapter 15.

The carrier is responsible for the goods to be transported while they are in his custody at the port, during transport and at the port of discharge.

The carrier’s responsibility includes property damage, loss and delay in delivery. The responsibility of the carrier depends on suspected fault with reversed burden of proof. The carrier is not at fault if he proves that loss or damage has been caused by error or omission in the navigation or handling of the ship which is due to the actions of the master, crew, pilots or other persons performing duties on the ship, or were caused by fire if this was not caused by the fault of the carrier.

Compensation for damaged or lost goods is set at the value of goods of the same type at the place and time of loss or damage.

Liability is maximum 667 SDR per parcel or other unit of goods or 2 SDR per kilogram.

If the delivery time is exceeded, the liability of the carrier is maximized to an amount equal to two and a half times the freight that must be paid for the delayed goods. However, liability is limited to a maximum of the amount of the total freight for the transport.

Depending on the type of claim, the limitation period is one, two or three years.

Railway transport

The national railway freight transport is regulated by the DSB law and the regulations on freight transport. These rules are mandatory, the carrier is strictly liable.

International transport of goods is regulated by the CIM agreement.

These regulations are also mandatory, and the carrier is also strictly liable in this respect.

Air freight

The carriage of cargo by air is regulated by the Air Transport Law No. 959 of September 12, 2011 and the Montreal Convention of May 28, 1999.

The Air Traffic Act is based on the Warsaw Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol of September 28, 1955.

The responsibility of the carrier is regulated as strict liability for loss of or damage to the goods. The carrier escapes from liability in certain cases, including if the damage was caused by defective packaging or due to the nature of the transported goods.

In practice, the parties have often agreed that air cargo carriage will be carried out in accordance with the Air Waybill and the IATA Conditions of Carriage of Cargo.

The limitation period is 2 years.

The above article is written by lawyer Anders Stig Vestergaard.

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