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Liabilities of parties



Planning international air freight, consignors and/or customers must learn the regulatory and legal framework that govern this area. This will help to predict and prevent possible problems that may arise during delivery, avoid disputes and incidents.

The sources of legal regulation of international air freight are both national laws and international legal acts. 

Consignors, freight agents and carriers must comply with:

  • the laws of the Russian Federation;

  • international treaties of the Russian Federation and the laws of departure, arrival and transit countries;

  • requirements related to border, customs, immigration, sanitary & quarantine, veterinary, phytosanitary and other types of control under the laws of the Russian Federation.


Under the laws of the Russian Federation, air transportation is regulated by the Air Navigation Order of the Russian Federation of March 19, 1997, and the Federal Aviation Regulations “General Rules of Air Carriage of Passengers, Baggage, Freight and Requirements to Servicing Passengers, Shippers, Consignees” approved by the Order of the Ministry of Transport of June 28, 2007, N 82. The legal backbone of the relationship between freight forwarders (freight agents) and customers is, first of all, a forwarding contract and the Federal Law "On transport and forwarding activities" of June 30, 2003, N 87-FZ.

The international part of air freight is governed by the rules (TACT rules) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the amended Warsaw Convention 1929 for the unification of certain rules relating to international carriage by air (the Hague Protocol 1955, the Guadalajara Convention 1961, the Montreal Protocols 1975 to amend the Warsaw Convention) and the Montreal Convention 1999 for the unification of certain rules relating to international carriage by air, to which Russia acceded on April 15, 2017.

See the excerpts from legal acts and international documents on the liability of consignors, carriers and freight agents (freight forwarders) below.


Duties and liabilities of consignors



“General Rules of Air Carriage of Passengers, Baggage, Freight and Requirements to Servicing Passengers, Shippers, Consignees” (Order of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation (Mintrans Russia) of June 28, 2007, N 82):

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58. The freight application must contain information necessary for the carriage of goods, details of dangerous cargo, and confirm the absence of goods and substances prohibited for transportation.

59. If cargo to be transported has special properties or requires special conditions of carriage, the consignor must indicate this in the freight application.

60. The consignor shall provide accurate and sufficient information necessary for the processing of the consignment note.

The consignor shall provide accurate and sufficient documents that, prior to the transfer of cargo to the consignee, are necessary in order to fulfill the requirements related to border, customs, immigration, sanitary & quarantine, veterinary, phytosanitary and other types of control under the laws of the Russian Federation. The carrier is under no obligation to verify the accuracy or sufficiency of these documents.

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159. Cargo is accepted for air transportation, if its quality, properties, volume, weight and packaging are permitted for transportation by air in compliance with the international treaties of the Russian Federation, these General Rules and other legal acts of the Russian Federation, as well as legal acts of departure, arrival and transit countries.

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The consignor must provide necessary documents as required by the laws of the Russian Federation, the laws of departure, arrival, transit countries, international treaties, as well as the carrier's rules;

Any import, export, transit or transfer of cargo must be permitted by the laws and regulations of departure, arrival, transit countries.

If one of the above conditions is not observed, the carrier or the authorized agent may refuse to accept the goods for transportation.

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169. The consignor shall provide accurate and sufficient information about cargo as required by the international treaties of the Russian Federation, these General Rules, other legal acts of the Russian Federation and the laws of departure, arrival, transit countries.

TACT rules of International Air Transport Association (IATA) (International Air Transport Association IATA, TACT rules):

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TACT rules IATA cl. 2.1.2. The carrier or its duly authorized agent on behalf of the consignor or consignee may, but is under no liability to, deal with formalities required by the customs authorities and other public authorities, and may, but is under no liability to, pay duties, taxes and other charges and make any payments. The consignor, consignee and cargo owner assume joint and individual liabilities to compensate the carrier for any expenses incurred by the latter. For such purposes, a copy of the air waybill certified by the carrier must be regarded as the original.

The consignor shall comply with all customs regulations and other state regulations of departure, destination or transit countries, with regard to packaging, transportation and delivery of goods, including the provision of such information and documents, which are necessary to meet these requirements; however, the carrier is under no obligation to inquire about the correctness or sufficiency of the required information, documents or marking.

TACT rules IATA cl. 2.3.1 The consignor shall be responsible for proper cargo packing to ensure safe cargo transportation, standard handling and prevent damage or cause damage to people, cargo (goods) and other property. Each cargo unit must be clearly, legibly and reliably marked to identify the consignor and the consignee.

TACT rules IATA cl. 6.1.6 The consignor shall be responsible for the correctness of statements and details describing the cargo, which are entered in the air waybill on its behalf. - The consignor shall be liable for any damage incurred by the carrier or any other person as a result of the incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete statements and details. Still, with its signature, the consignor confirms the agreement with the terms of the contract in the form, in which they appear on the reverse side of the air waybill, as well as with the conditions of carriage.

Resolution 600b by IATA

Air waybill — conditions of contract

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11. Shipper shall comply with all applicable laws and government regulations of any country to or from which the cargo may be carried, including those relating to the packing, carriage or delivery of the cargo, and shall furnish such information and attach such documents to the air waybill as may be necessary to comply with such laws and regulations. Carrier is not liable to shipper and shipper shall indemnify Carrier for loss or expense due to shipper’s failure to comply with this provision.


Carrier’s liability



Russian Air Navigation Order of March 19, 1997, N 60-FZ:

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Article 116. General principles of liability The carrier shall be liable to the passenger of the aircraft and cargo owner in the order established by the laws of the Russian Federation, the international agreements to which the Russian Federation is a party as well as the contract of passenger carriage, the contract of cargo transportation and the contract of mail transportation.

Article 119. Amount of compensation to be paid by the carrier for loss, shortage or damage (defect) to the baggage, cargo as well as luggage of the passenger

….. For loss, shortage or damage (defect) to the baggage, cargo as well as of the luggage of the passenger in the international carriage the carrier shall be liable in accordance with the international agreements to which the Russian Federation is a party.

Montreal Convention 1999:

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In the carriage of cargo, the liability of the carrier in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay is limited to a sum of 17 Special Drawing Rights per kilogram, unless the consignor has made, at the time when the package was handed over to the carrier, a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination and has paid a supplementary sum if the case so requires. In that case the carrier will be liable to pay a sum not exceeding the declared sum, unless it proves that the sum is greater than the consignor's actual interest in delivery at destination.

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Resolution 600b IATA

Air Waybill — Conditions of Contract

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II. Conditions of contract on the reverse side of the air waybill

Notice concerning carrier’s limitation of liability If during transportation the final destination of the goods or the point of stop is not in the country of departure, then potential application of the Warsaw Convention or the Montreal Convention, which in most cases limit the carrier's liability for the loss, damage or delay of cargo. Depending on the applicable regime, and unless a higher value is declared, liability of the Carrier may be limited to 17 Special Drawing Rights per kilogram or 250 French gold francs per kilogram, converted into national currency under applicable law. Carrier will treat 250 French gold francs to be the conversion equivalent of 17 Special Drawing Rights unless a greater amount is specified in the Carrier's conditions of carriage.

….. Any exclusion or limitation of liability applicable to Carrier shall apply to Carrier’s agents, employees, and representatives and to any person whose aircraft or equipment is used by Carrier for carriage and such person’s agents, employees and representatives.


Forwarder’s liability



Federal Law on Transport and Forwarding Activities (adopted by the State Duma on June 11, 2003):

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Article 6. Common basis of liability

1. For nonperformance or improper performance of the duties contemplated by the contract of freight forwarding and the present Federal law, freight forwarder and the customer are liable on the grounds and in the amount of which shall be determined in accordance with Chapter 25 civil code of the Russian Federation and the present Federal law and other Federal laws (version of the Federal Law of July 6, 2016, N 374-FZ).

2. In case the freight forwarder to prove that the breach of an obligation caused by the improper performance of the contract of carriage, the liability of the forwarder, the customer pays the contract of carriage, is determined based on the rules by which the forwarder is responsible before the appropriate carrier.

3. When providing forwarding services related to the carriage of goods in international traffic and use the corresponding forwarding documents, limit of liability of the freight forwarder for nonperformance or improper performance of the duties contemplated by the contract of freight forwarding may not exceed 666.67 unit for space or other loading unit, except for the freight forwarder's liability under paragraph 2 of article 9 hereof.

For the purposes of this federal law when providing forwarding services related to the carriage of goods in international traffic under the unit refers to the unit of special drawing rights as defined by the International Monetary Fund. Value of the ruble in terms of special drawing right shall be calculated in accordance with the method of valuation applied by the International Monetary Fund in effect at the date in question for its operations and transactions. In accordance with the value of the ruble in terms of special drawing rights transfer in rubles shall be effected on the date of judgment or at a date to be determined by agreement of the parties.

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Article 7. The grounds and the amount of liability of the freight forwarder to the customer for loss, shortage or damage (spoilage) of cargo.

1. The freight forwarder is liable to the client in the form of reimbursement of actual damages for loss, shortage or damage (spoilage) of cargo after acceptance of its freight forwarder and prior to the issuance of cargo to the recipient specified in the contract of freight forwarding or an authorized person to them, unless he proves that the loss, shortage or damage (spoilage) of cargo occurred due to circumstances which the freight forwarder could not avoid and which cannot be depended upon in the following sizes:

1) for loss or shortage of goods, adopted by the freight forwarder to transport announcement values in the amount of the declared value or the declared value of the proportional part of the missing part of the cargo;

2) for loss or shortage of goods, adopted by the freight forwarder to transport without a declaration of value, in the amount of actual (documented) value of the goods or the missing part thereof;

3) for damage (spoilage) of cargo, which was adopted by the freight forwarder to transport announcement values in the amount by which the declared value has declined, and in case of impossibility of restoration of damaged goods in the amount of the declared value;

4) for damage (spoilage) of cargo, which was adopted by the freight forwarder to transport without a declaration of value, equal to the amount by which actual decreased (documented) value of the goods, and if it is not possible to restore a damaged goods in amount of actual (documented) value of the goods.

2. When providing forwarding services related to the carriage of goods in international traffic, the freight forwarder's liability for loss, shortage or damage (damage) of the goods provided for in this article may not exceed two units of account per kilogram of gross weight of lost, missing or damaged (corrupted) unless a higher amount is not reimbursed by the person for whom the freight forwarder is responsible.

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