The Legal Position of Terminal Operators in Hinterland Networks


The legal position of the terminal operator changes by the integration of the carriage of goods between the sea port and the hinterland into his service profile. The terminal operator performs a wide variety of obligations, including loading and discharging, stacking, warehousing, measuring, weighing and carrying goods within and beyond the terminal’s premises. These obligations fall into different categories of contracts for which the law provides specific rules, i.e. a contract of carriage, a contract of deposit and a service contract. Some of these obligations might be subject to mandatory provisions derived from applicable national legal systems or uniform private law conventions. This book examines how to determine the applicable rules to the terminal operator’smixed contracts. This serves a practical purpose as one of themain differences between the applicable legal regimes is the terminal operator’s liabilities towards third parties such as cargo owners or ship owners who do not have a contractual relation with the terminal operator.

About the author(s)

Susan Niessen is a Ph.D.-candidate at the Erasmus School of Law of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and a law clerk of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands


Table of abbreviations

1 Introduction

1.1 Focus on terminal operators in hinterland networks

1.2 Different roles and terminology

1.3 Research questions and structure

1.4 Research method

Part I The logistic concept within a legal framework

2 Background: Transport integration by terminal operators

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Logistic developments

2.3 Terminal operations

2.4 Integration of inland transport

3 Overview of applicable legal regimes

3.1 Introduction

3.2 The terminal operator as a service provider: Service contracts

3.3 The terminal operator as a depositary: Contracts of deposit

3.4 The terminal operator as a carrier: Contracts of carriage

4 The validity of a uniform contractual liability regime

4.1 Introduction

4.2 The mandatory nature of inland transport law rules

4.3 Limits of liability

4.4 Grounds for breaking these limits

4.5 Period of responsibility and obligation to load and discharge

4.6 Carrier’s responsibility for and protection of persons used for the performance of the contract

4.7 The carrier’s duty of care and specific exonerations

4.8 Procedural matters: notice periods and periods of limitation

4.9 Conclusions Part I

Part II Mixed contracts

5 Doctrines on mixed contracts

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Innominate, nominate and mixed contracts

5.3 Three doctrines on the applicable law to mixed contracts

5.4 Categories of mixed contracts

6 Transshipment: Theories of mixed contracts applied

6.1 Introduction

6.2 The period of responsibility under the contract of carriage

6.3 The legal nature of transshipment

6.4 Demarcation of transport stages during transshipment: Points of reference

6.5 Conclusions Part II

Part III Third parties

7 Extra-contractual liability of terminal operators

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Co-existence and concurrence of contractual and extra-contractual claims

7.3 Extra-contractual liability in case of stevedore damage

7.4 Terminal signs

8 Liability to third parties: International transport law conventions

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Application of conventions irrespective of nature of claim

8.3 Subcarriers

8.4 Other subcontractors

9 Liability to third parties: National law

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Contractual devices to the terminal operator’s benefit

9.3 Dutch law

9.4 German law

9.5 English law

9.6 Belgian law

9.7 Policy considerations

9.8 Conclusions Part III


Samenvatting (Summary in Dutch)


Table of cases



Curriculum Vitae

€ 58,50

ISBN: 9789462511491

Practice area: Commercial law

Serie: NTHR-reeks

Part: 23

Author: Susan Niessen

Number of pages: 338

Release date: 21 december 2017

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