Carriage of goods by sea and bills of lading

International conventions

Are the Hague Rules, Hague-Visby Rules, Hamburg Rules or some variation in force and have they been ratified or implemented without ratification? Has your state ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea? When does carriage at sea begin and end for the purpose of application of such rules?

Egypt has ratified the United Nations International Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea, Hamburg Rules and its conditions are applicable in Egypt.

Multimodal carriage

Are there Conventions or domestic laws in force in respect of road, rail or air transport that apply to stages of the transport other than by sea under a combined transport or multimodal bill of lading?

Egypt is a signatory to the Montreal Convention 1999. In the case of combined transportation or multimodal bill of lading, each stage of transportation will be governed by its own law.

Title to sue

Who has title to sue on a bill of lading?

In general, the three parties of the bill of lading or any third party who has received any right from those three parties or the legitimate holder of the bill of lading are the parties entitled to instigate any legal action relating to the contract of carriage.

Charter parties

To what extent can the terms in a charter party be incorporated into the bill of lading? Is a jurisdiction or arbitration clause in a charter party, the terms of which are incorporated in the bill, binding on a third-party holder or endorsee of the bill?

The terms of a charterparty could be incorporated with the bill of lading if the bill of lading is issued pursuant to a charter party, and the charter party’s terms govern the relationship between the carrier and the holder of the bill of lading, who is not the charterer.

If the charter party contains a provision by referring the disputes to arbitration and a bill of lading issued pursuant to the charter party. The arbitration clause provision must clearly state that the clause is binding on the bill of lading holder, otherwise the carrier’s chances of invoking the provision against the third-party holder or endorsee will be poor.

Demise and identity of carrier clauses

Is the ‘demise’ clause or identity of carrier clause recognised and binding?

Demise and identity of carrier clauses are not recognised or binding under the Egyptian Maritime Law.

Shipowner liability and defences

Are shipowners liable for cargo damage where they are not the contractual carrier and what defences can they raise against such liability? In particular, can they rely on the terms of the bill of lading even though they are not contractual carriers?

Normally the cargo interests’ claim should be oriented against the contractual carrier and the latter should be entitled to implicate the shipowner in the proceeding by means of a collateral sub-lawsuit.

If it is proved that the damage giving rise to a particular cargo claim occurred while the cargo was in the custody of the actual carrier and not the contractual carrier, the shipper will be entitled to claim jointly and severally from both the actual and contractual carrier for the value of the loss.

Deviation from route

What is the effect of deviation from a vessel’s route on contractual defences?

See question 46.


What liens can be exercised?

In the charter party, the owner of the vessel is legally entitled to exercise lien on the cargo owned by the charterer if the latter failed to pay the required amounts to the owner. Another right given to the owner by Egyptian laws is to exercise a lien on cargo that has not been delivered by the consignee.

Delivery without bill of lading

What liability do carriers incur for delivery of cargo without production of the bill of lading and can they limit such liability?

If the carrier fails to issue a bill of lading, it may run high legal risks. When a person other than the real receiver of the goods legally possesses the bill of lading, it usually constitutes a false delivery by the carrier.

Shipper responsibilities and liabilities

What are the responsibilities and liabilities of the shipper?

Once the shipper submits to the shipping line or agency a shipping declaration that includes the cargo’s particulars, this is a clear disclosure of its intention to ship the goods via that shipping line to its desired route. Accordingly, the shipper has to withdraw the assigned empty container from the shipping agency’s yard for stuffing and sealing, gating-in the container prior to the vessel’s arrival for shipping on board the assigned vessel. It receives the original copies of bills of lading from the shipping line or agency once the vessel sails and sends these originals to the assigned consignee, enabling it to receive the goods at the port of discharge. If the receiver nominated by the shipper does not deal with the carrier’s agent at the port of discharge, the shipper is then liable as regards the carrier for compensation because of undelivered cargo. Moreover, the shipper is responsible for loss or damage sustained by the carrier or the ship resulting from the shipper’s cargo or shipper’s fault or neglect, its agents or its servants.