Shippers’ Council, Maritime Law Association Challenge Hamburg Rules on Carriage of cargo

Mr. Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary – Nigerian Shippers Council

According to Thisday reports, the Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), have commenced moves to repel the Hamburg Rules on Carriage of cargo with a view to replacing it with the Hague Visby rules. This is in order to stop the unfair treatment being meted on Nigerian Shippers.

Speaking at a reception in honour of the immediate past Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, organised by the Nigerian Maritime Law Association, President of the group, Mrs . Funke Agbo, said the Hamburg rules must be repelled before the Hague rules can become applicable.


The Hamburg Rules are a set of rules governing the international shipment of goods, resulting from the United Nations International Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea adopted in Hamburg, Germany, while The Hague-Visby Rules stipulates the extent of the governance of the waybill for a cargo ship being chartered alongside the liabilities that stand to be potentially imposed on the parties agreeing to the charter.

Agbo, therefore, urged the newly appointed Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr. Jime Emmanuel, to look into that aspect of the shipping law that could further enhance the capacity and capability of the Nigerian trading public.

Agbo also called on the new management team of the NSC to improve upon the flagship of the Council, which is the annual Maritime Seminar for judges for a better understanding of the admiral cases.
According to her, ‘‘Once there is a previous regime and you want to incorporate the new regime, the new law must be taken to the depository by the country seeking the change of law.
“This can be done diplomatically, politically, legislatively or otherwise so that the Hamburg rule can be applicable in Nigeria.”

Speaking in the same vein, Hassan Bello said that there should be a denouncement of the Hague Visby rules and a repel of it in Nigeria here was not done before we jumped to the Hamburg rules.
He stated: “We have to do away with Hague and its Visby protocol before Hamburg becomes applicable. Now it is the convenience, everybody will take what is convenient. It is not elegant at all.”

‘‘We are so sold out to international laws, off-course, we need international laws but Africa needs its own laws. The internationality of shipping has been questioned by Covid-19 and fairness is not a flagship of international shipping.”

He added, “You remember how we fought the congestion charges, that was unfair, charges slapped on Nigeria and other African countries without consultation. Even when you go to restaurants, they will show the menu and the cost, but that was not done in this case. Anytime they want they slam charges.

“So I questioned the internationality of the International Maritime Organization that we should reduce emission without saying who is going to pay the cost. So we have to design our African laws to serve our interest the of Africans.”

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