Why spend valuable time and money to “reinvent the wheel”?
Overview of Motor Carrier Contracting:
Prior to 1980, virtually all transportation provided by motor carriers moved according to the terms and conditions of the Uniform Bill of Lading as contained in the National Motor Freight Classification. This is why the Bill of Lading was often referred to as the “contract for carriage.”
After 1980, shippers and carriers began to negotiate individual contracts. The primary motivation for shippers to negotiate individual contracts is to avoid the “unintended consequences” and tariff “surprises and traps” which are typically found in a carrier’s private tariffs, terms and conditions, service guide, etc. These could relate to limits of liability for loss and damage, accessorial charges, or other “special charges”, late payment penalties, and other items which a shipper would not knowingly agree to prior to doing business with a carrier.
The drafting philosophy of the Contract template is to be “shipper friendly” in that its terms are generally more favorable to a shipper than those that would be found in a carrier’s own tariffs or terms and conditions. However, at the same time it is drawn so as to not be so onerous for a carrier that a carrier would automatically reject it.
Brent Wm. Primus, J.D.
Laurel E. Learmonth, J.D.
About the Author:
Brent Wm. Primus, J.D., represented the shipper in the pivotal case of The Bankruptcy Estate of United Shipping Company, Inc. v. General Mills, Inc., 34 F.3d, 1383 (8th Cir. 1994). This decision of the former Interstate Commerce Commission set the stage for modern motor carrier contracting in a deregulated environment. Since that time Brent has worked extensively with shippers to develop and negotiate their contracts.
About the Editor:
Laurel E. Learmonth, J.D., is a shareholder in Primus Law Office, P.A. and a Senior Editor for transportlawtexts, inc. Laurel has represented both corporate and individual clients in a variety of business transactions and litigation matters in both state and federal court. This includes transportation matters such as pursuing and defending cargo claims and collecting or defending disputed freight charges.