• Special Treatment for International Shipments
  • January 20, 2014
  • Law Firm: Meyer Unkovic Scott LLP - Pittsburgh Office
  • Businesses shipping abroad by common carrier need to consider the carrier's limits on liability for the potential loss or damage of the shipped items, especially when the items have a relatively high value and low weight.

    "Common carriers" shipping internationally are covered by the Warsaw System, which establishes the legal framework for carrying passengers, baggage and cargo. The Warsaw System limits a carrier's liability based on the weight of the goods shipped. The carrier's maximum liability is limited by an artificial, weight-based system developed by the International Monetary Fund.

    The problem is that basing the value of the goods on weight often results in gross under compensation.

    For example, the recovery for the loss of a microwave oven may be greater than its retail value, whereas the recovery for diamonds may only be a fraction of their value.

    Businesses shipping goods with low weight but high value -- such as jewelry, artwork, precious metals, negotiable instruments, prototypes, medical devices and computer components -- should always make a special declaration in value. When the business makes a special declaration and pays an additional charge for the shipment, the carrier is liable for damages and loss that do not exceed the declared value, unless the carrier can prove that the declared value is greater than the actual value.

    But even when making a special declaration, businesses must read the fine print, because carriers will sometimes try to limit the amount that a business can declare.

    For these reasons, when shipping goods of high value and low weight abroad, businesses should consider either using alternative methods of transport or getting separate insurance for the shipment.

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/businessnews/2012/04/16/Business-Workshop-Special-treatment-for-international-shipments/stories/201204160133#ixzz2qkm04YKG