Loaded container ship coming into port with large dock cranes in the background

What is COGSA?

What is COGSA? 1000 665 Transmodal

The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) is a federal legislation in the United States that regulates the rights and liabilities of parties involved in the shipment of goods by sea. It was enacted in 1920 and has since been amended several times. The “Hague Rules” are the name of an international agreement that was enacted in 1924 by the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading. Consequently, this law is founded on the “Hague Rules.” The United States Congress enacted the Transport of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) in 1936. This law applies to all bills of lading and other similar documents that provide evidence of a contract for the carriage of goods by sea to or from ports in the United States.

The limitation of liability for carriers is one of the primary provisions of COGSA. This provision states that a carrier’s liability for loss or damage to cargo is limited to a certain amount per package or per unit of weight, unless the shipper declares a higher value for the cargo and pays an additional fee. If the shipper declares a higher value for the cargo, the shipper must also pay an additional fee. This limit of responsibility is currently fixed at $500 per package or per unit of weight, unless the carrier and the shipper agree to a higher limit in the bill of lading. In such case, the limit will remain at $500 per package or per unit of weight.

Additionally, COGSA is responsible for establishing time limits for the submission of claims for lost or damaged cargo. A claim for loss or damage must be filed in writing with the carrier or its agent within nine months after the delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered. The deadline for filing a claim is usually nine months after the later of these two dates. The carrier is absolved of responsibility in the event that a claim is not submitted within the allotted amount of time.

Establishing the carrier’s obligation for delay is another essential component of the COGSA. This liability is restricted to any actual loss or damage incurred as a direct result of the delay and is capped at the amount that the shipper was charged for the delayed items’ freight.

The Containerized Goods Shipping Act (COGSA) is an important piece of legislation for the maritime industry in the United States. It also continues to play an important part in the transportation of goods by sea. COGSA provides a framework for the rights and liabilities of shippers, carriers, and other parties involved in the shipment of goods.