A company transports palletised goods for a customer. On delivery, the recipient complains that the goods have been damaged. However, the pallets are still usable.
How should the weight of the shipment be calculated, considering that this would form the basis for liability under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (ie, 8.33 special drawing rights per kilogram of cargo)?
According to the Federal Court of Justice, if the pallets are still usable, only the net weight of the goods counts (Decision I ZR 18/18 of 11 October 2018).
In this decision, the court held that it is necessary to look closely at what has been damaged, as the fate of some items is not necessarily the fate of others. In the above example, the goods and the pallets are considered two independent economic goods.
This decision is not limited to the area of palletised goods. Recyclable packaging such as crates and racks, for which there is still a market, can be excluded from calculations of weight subject to compensation in future, as long as the items are not damaged or have only minor damage that does not impair its usability.
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