The CMR Convention provides carrier’s liability also for a delay in the delivery.
Firstly, one must answer the question of what a delay is. According to Article 19 of the CMR Convention, a delay in delivery is said to occur when the goods have not been delivered within the agreed time-limit or when, failing an agreed time-limit, the actual duration of the carriage having regard to the circumstances of the case, and in particular, in the case of partial loads, the time required for making up a complete load in the normal way, exceeds the time it would be reasonable to allow a diligent carrier. Most commonly contracts for carriage specify exactly the time-limit of the delivery. The only problem that may occur is at the moment of handing over the goods. One should ascertain that an exact time and date of the delivery is entered into the consignment note. Proving that a delay in delivery has occurred is, however, insufficient to make a claim for compensation.
According to Article 23 point 5 of the Convention, if the claimant proves that damage has resulted from a delay in delivery, the carrier is obliged to pay compensation for such damage but not exceeding the carriage charges. In other words, compensation for a delay in delivery is payable only when a damage has occurred and also it is necessary for the claimant to prove that the damage has taken place. It happens every so often that despite the delay in delivery that the person commissioning the carriage receives full payment from his contractor and then proceeds to make claims for compensation against his subcontractor who has actually performed the carriage. In such situation one should require the damage to be proved by the claimant. The amount of the compensation has been limited to the amount of carriage charges.
By virtue of Article 30 point 3 of the Convention, no compensation shall be payable for delay in delivery unless a reservation has been sent in writing to the carrier, within twenty-one days from the time that the goods were placed at the disposal of the consignee. Ipso facto, in order to vindicate the claim, the claimant will have to prove not only that he has sent a reservation concerning the delay in writing, but also that he has kept the time limit specified by the Convention.
Attorney at law