Kilo Limitation For Cargo Claims in Norway


Published: 4 May 2004

Bjørn Flåm successfully represented members in a case brought before the Supreme Court of Norway and reviews this decision for us

In a judgment dated 23 March 2004, in an appeal case brought by Skuld on behalf of a member, the Supreme Court of Norway has endorsed the Association’s view in a case involving kilo limitation. The decision is reported at Lovdata. The relevant piece of legislation is the Norwegian Maritime Act section 280(1), which adopts article IV (5) a) of the Hague-Visby Rules.

The case involved a semi-trailer which tilted onboard a ferry, causing damage to both the semi-trailer, and another semi-trailer parked next to it. There was damage to the truck and trailer of both vehicles, but the case only concerned the damage to the trailers.

The trailers were condemned, and the question of law was whether, for the purpose of the limitation provisions, one should apply the weight of the trucks and trailers combined, or just the weight of the trailers. If the latter was the case, our member would be in a position to limit liability.

The Supreme Court, in their unanimous judgment, held that the trailer could not be said to be an integrated part of the vehicle thus endorsing the view that for the purpose of the limitation provisions, it is just the weight of the trailers that is relevant

They pointed at the fact that a trailer could be attached to other trucks than the ones involved in our case, and the fact that trailers in many instances are carried without a truck. Accordingly a trailer is economically and practically an independent item.

It would then be arbitrary if the limit should vary depending on whether the trailer was attached to a truck or not. The fact that there was also damage to the trucks, did not alter the conclusion in this respect.

In our opinion the judgment shows that the kilo limitation provisions should be construed narrowly, which will be to the benefit of carriers.