BIFAlink February 2023



Court clarifies a CMR carrier’s responsibility for Customs formalities

Whilst the following case regarding the CMR Convention was heard and the judgment made in Denmark, as courts tend to pay attention to judgments

involving the CMR Convention in other jurisdictions, it is of interest to the UK

A Danish freight forwarder agreed to transport a shipment of pipe elements from Schaffhausen, Switzerland, to Sweden. The forwarder sub- contracted the road haulage to a Bulgarian trucker. In connection with the booking, the forwarder gave some rather unclear instructions regarding Customs formalities. It was stated that the Customs documents to be used for the transit- procedure in the EU would be delivered by the sender in Switzerland, and that the carrier would “just have to go to Customs direct to go out”. At the EU-Switzerland frontier, there was uncertainty about whether the correct Customs procedures had been followed – and the transcript of the conversation between forwarder and the trucker did little to clarify matters. Whatever passed between the two parties, the one thing that certainly did not occur was that the consignment was presented to EU Customs and correctly cleared into the Union. Carrier files proceedings This led to the Swedish Customs authorities ordering the carrier to pay Customs duties and import VAT totalling SEK360,463. The carrier filed proceedings against the freight forwarder on the basis that: • The forwarder had not instructed the carrier that the consignment must be presented to Customs upon entry into the EU; • The forwarder should have instructed the carrier on what to do since the former was aware that local police had only acknowledged the payment of road tax, but had not stamped or signed the Customs documents;

• During discussions between the two parties, despite being aware that the import documents had not been correctly processed,

the forwarder simply instructed the driver to continue the transport movement to the destination in Sweden.


February 2023

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