The Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993

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The Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993 (hereinafter referred to as “The Act”) came into force in the year 1993 after receiving the assent of the President on 2nd April, 1993. The Act consists of 32 sections which are divided into five chapters and a schedule is attached to the Act. The schedule is further classified into three parts which consist of amendment of certain enactments in consonance with the Act.

Multimodal Transportation is also known as combined transportation. Mode of transportation includes rail, air, ship and road. Therefore, those carriers where two or more modes of transportation are involved are considered as Multimodal transportation. The reason behind the enactment of the Act is to facilitate the exporters of India to participate in the globalised market with a sense of security and to help reduce the logistic cost which on the other hand enhances its competitiveness in the globalised market. The objective of the Act further clarifies the reason that the Act was enacted in order to regulate the multimodal transportation of goods from the source of the goods to its destination. The source covers the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir as mentioned in Section 1 of the Act. The destination would be any place outside India that is in the international market. Further, a multimodal transport contract would be created which would cover the whole matter. Clause (l) of section 2 defines multimodal transport contract which means any person who is acting as a Principal or is the person who has concluded the contract of multimodal transport, that person would be liable for the performance of the multimodal transportation against the decided payment. This would be considered as multimodal transport contract.

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The Act is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 is the Preliminary part which includes the extension and commencement of the Act along with the definitions of important terms which would be used only for the purpose of the Act. Chapter 2 consists of regulation of multimodal transportation. Sections 3 to 6 are included in this chapter. Section 3 provides that the persons carrying on the business of multimodal transportation should be registered under this Act. Section 4 deals with the registration process. It provides that a form and sum of ten thousand rupees needs to be submitted to the competent authority. Section 2(b) defines competent authority which says that the person authorized by the central government has to perform the function under this act. That competent authority after being satisfied by the fulfillment of certain conditions would be provided with a certificate which would be valid for three years which could be renewed from time to time. However, provision for cancellation is provided under section 5. It provides that any statement in the application or renewal form is incorrect or false or any provision or rules has been contravened by the operator, in such a case, the registration would be liable for cancellation. Also, the operator is obliged to perform the multimodal transportation within two years of the registration failing which the registration would be liable for cancellation.  A provision for appeal has been provided for the person aggrieved with registration or cancellation could approach the competent authority within a reasonable period of time.

Chapter 3 provides Multimodal transport document. Sections 7 to 12 are included in this chapter. Clause (la) of section 2 defines multimodal transport document. It says that it is a negotiable or non – negotiable document which includes the multimodal transport contract and it is replaceable by electronic data interchange messages as applicable by the appropriate law. Chapter 4 deals with the responsibilities and obligations of multimodal transport operator. Section 13 to 20A deals with it. The operator would be responsible for any loss caused due to the damage or delay of the consignment. It also includes the consequential loss or damage arising from such delay. The assessment of the compensation would be made according to the value of the consignment which would further be assessed by the current commodity exchange price or current market price. Chapter 5 includes the miscellaneous provisions.

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 by Neha Dayal.