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Carriage of Goods by Sea Act & COGSA Defenses History

We talk and write a lot about the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the related 17 COGSA defenses—but how and why were these laws developed? Let’s take a closer look at the history behind the statutes.

The initial development of COGSA

United States lawmakers passed the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) in 1936, after World War I but before the beginning of World War II. The Act was put in place to outline the rights and responsibilities of cargo shippers and vessel operators as manufacturers and transportation companies move products overseas and across the world. COGSA also contains 17 so-called COGSA defenses, which is a list of situations in which a vessel owner is not liable for damaged or lost cargo.

COGSA is an enactment of the Hague-Visby Rules, an international set of regulations related to cargo, vessel operators, and shippers. These rules were initially drafted in Brussels in 1924 and amended in 1968 and 1979. They are also meant to clarify the relationship between cargo shippers and vessel owners as well as their liability in a range of situations.

How COGSA differs from the Hague-Visby Rules

When the United States enacted COGSA, it amended the Hague-Visby rules in a number of minor but important ways, mostly to give shippers and their cargo more protection from negligent vessel owners. For example, if ship owners must pay shippers for damaged cargo, COGSA increased the amount owed for each affected cargo container.

Some believe that COGSA is flawed because it places a package limitation of $500 per container of damaged cargo, causing a large number of lawsuits between shippers and boat owners. The Hague-Visby Rules amended the package limitation rule in 1968, largely eliminating litigation related to package limitations.

Texas marine insurance claim attorney

Are you liable for damaged or lost cargo? Find out more about your rights and responsibilities by speaking with a marine claim lawyer at the Voss Law Firm: 888-614-7730.

If No Recovery No Fee Guarenteed

The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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