Henrik Jantzen, Kromann Reumert, Denmark

1) Freight Forwarding Business in Denmark

Freight forwarding is a significant line of business in Denmark. A substantial part of import and export is carried out as road carriage and moreover Denmark is a transit for road carriage between the other Nordic countries and central Europe. Further, substantial project and heavy-lift cargo is exported from Denmark – in particular from the WTG industry. All these carriages are often contracted through Danish based freight forwarders offering door-to-door services and other additional services such as logistics, warehousing, insurance and customs clearance.

The services provided by Danish freight forwarders have – similar to services provided by freight forwarders in other countries – developed through the years from the classic freight forwarding services i.e. arranging transports as intermediary only, until today where the freight forwarder undertakes door-to-door carriages, offering own storage and warehouse facilities and providing other services in his own name and for his own account.

Whereas the Danish freight forwarders previously consisted of a number of small operators, the business is today consolidated into a few large full scale (international) freight forwarding companies, together with a number of minor freight forwarding operators, specialized in specific freight forwarding services.

2) the Freight Forwarders Standard Conditions nsab

The Danish freight forwarders are organised in the Danish freight forwarding association Danish Freight Forwarders’ Association (Danske Speditører). This association is a member of the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) and a member of FIATA.

Similar freight forwarding member associations have been established in the other Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden and Finland). These member associations have established a joint Nordic group, the Nordic Association of Freight Forwarders.

This Nordic association has for more than 100 years published general conditions for freight forwarding services – named NSAB.

These general conditions have since they were first introduced in 1913 been renewed several times reflecting the developments of the freight forwarders legal position and changes in the services provided by him through the years.

As from 1959, NSAB and the subsequent revisions have been negotiated between the Nordic Association of Freight Forwarders and the Nordic shippers’ organizations, in Denmark originally represented by the Danish Shippers’ Council. Today, the shippers’ interests are primarily represented by the Danish Chamber of Commerce which also participated in the latest edition (NSAB 2015), in force as from 1 January 2016.

3) regulation of the freight forwarder’s liability and NSAB

In Denmark (and the other Nordic countries) no legislation applies in respect of services provided by the freight forwarders and without specific agreements no limitations apply in respect of the services provided by them.

When the freight forwarder undertakes to arrange carriage of goods, he will often be considered as a carrier whereby the mandatory legislation in force regarding this specific mode of transport will apply (i.e. CMR, Haag Visby, Montreal, CIM/Codif, all conventions which have been ratified and incorporated in the legislation in the Nordic countries.)

However, the freight forwarder undertakes several services, of which no mandatory legislation applies, such as storage and warehousing, logistic providers, customs clearance, insurance issues, packaging etc.

Furthermore, if damage to or loss of the goods occurs during a multimodal carriage and it is not possible to establish at which stage of the carriage the damage occurred, or if such loss or damage occurs during handling at a terminal, basically no mandatory legislation applies in relation to the freight forwarder’s liability.

Additionally, in respect of domestic road carriage in Denmark no regulation applies for the carrier’s or freight forwarder’s liability.

Therefore, as in many situations no regulation applies in respect of the freight forwarder’s rights and obligations, the standard conditions NSAB are often of significant importance when assessing the liability of the freight forwarder in case the carriage fails or the goods are damaged or lost.

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