GROUP-GTS GENERAL CONDITIONS

TITLE I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Definitions

In the general sense of the term, “transporter” is understood for the application of these general conditions, depending on the contracting party, as GROUP-GTS and/or any company or entity forming part of such, including but not limited to NV GEYBELS TRANSPORT SERVICE (freight broker licence 1856001), NV TDS LOGISTICS (transport licence no. 51760; freight broker licence no. 3384001) NV TRANSPORT GEBROEDERS VAN AERDE (transport licence no. 40782, freight broker licence no. 1217001).

The “client” in the context of these general conditions is understood to mean any party who issues a transport order, or more generally enters into a legal relationship with the transporter, with the understanding that by virtue of issuing the order or entering into a legal relationship the client declares to be authorised to this end and hence personally acts as guarantor for the obligations resulting from the order.

“Container transport” in the context of these conditions is understood to mean the transport of all forms of containers, including but not exclusively: Dry, Reefer, High-cube, Open Top, Flat Rack, Pallet-wide and Tank. This is irrespective of the size of the container and irrespective of any chassis on which it is transported, as well as without a distinction as to whether the container and/or chassis are the property of the transporter, the client or any other third party.

“General conditions” are understood as the entirety of the general provisions in these general conditions, as contained in Title I, supplemented by the specific provisions as included in Titles II and III, that are applicable to the cases as described therein.

Area of application

The general provisions in the general conditions are applicable to all orders placed (including as appropriate any storage before, during and after transport) and agreements and in general all legal relationships with the transporter unless agreed otherwise in writing, and to the extent the provisions in these general conditions may be applicable to the legal relationships.

These general provisions are supplemented by the specific provisions from the following titles concerning the respective activities for the transport of goods by road or the transport of goods using multi-modal transport.

This entails the general conditions of any other party, in whatever form, in no way being applicable to the legal relationship with the transporter.

By virtue of accepting the transporter’s quotation, the client also accepts the current general conditions.

Necessary changes

The client cannot oppose necessary changes to the general conditions ensuing from a legal or regulatory obligation imposed on the transporter by virtue of Union law, international treaties or national law. Editorial changes without the adaptation of the content or meaning of the general conditions are not regarded as changes to the general conditions.

Quotations

All quotations, submitted in whatever form, are without obligation and only apply as an invitation to place an order unless otherwise specified in writing by the transporter.

Verbal orders are only definitively accepted when they are confirmed in writing within 24 hours or when a start has been made on executing the order by the transporter. Written confirmation must be submitted as fully as possible with all information needed for the correct carrying out of the order (for example and not limited to: nature and quantity of goods, weight, type of container, container number, quay and/or depot, value, information for stowage and load securement, etc.).

This information must be in the possession of the transporter sufficiently beforehand in order to be able to execute the order as requested, whereby account must be taken of aspects including route distance, driving and rest periods, time window at loading and unloading places, administrative processing, pre-notification, etc.

Submitting a transport order entails the client consenting to the general conditions and accepting them as contractually binding. The transporter reserves the right to refuse a transport order despite any quotations submitted.

The client explicitly agrees that the transporter is permitted to contract the transport out to third parties without prior notice or agreement.

Transport documents

The client must add all compulsory documents to the load in good time that must the accompany the goods in compliance with the law or regulatory provisions. No or late submission of the required documents will result in the exemption of liability of the transporter, whereby the client will indemnify the transporter without prejudice to the possibility of refusing the load and the right to damage compensation. The transporter is under no circumstances liable for the incorrect or incomplete submission of information on the transport documents, including for example the correct quantity and the correct weight. All costs, liability and damage that may result from this are exclusively at the expense of the client, from whom they can be recovered.

Should there be reason to presume that the information provided by the client concerning dimensions, quantity or weight of the goods is incorrect or incomplete, or if no means are available to verify the dimensions, quantity or weight, the transporter reserves the right to make a reservation concerning this in the transport document.

Choice of transport modes

Unless an explicit agreement exists with the client in this respect, the transporter itself determines the route as well as the transport resources to be used for the transport. Unless a specific transport resource has been agreed between the client and the transporter, in the interest of the transporter goods can be transferred, unloaded or transported by any other transport resource without notification of the client.

Transport costs

The rates specified are always ‘bare’ prices, i.e. based on the distance and/or the weight . Any surcharges must be added to these sums such as (without being exhaustive) waiting times, ADR surcharge, custom scans or formalities, stopovers, physical controls, fuel surcharges, loading and unloading times, port duties, canal duties, low or high water supplement, ice supplement, obstruction supplement, clearance requirements, etc.

Rates for these surcharges are available on request and can be variable.

The freight fees and transport costs are payable by the client. In the event of transport whereby the client indicates that payment will be made by the addressee, the client and addressee are severally and indivisibly liable for payment.

Loading and unloading the transported goods is not included in the freight fees and must take place at the expense and risk of the client.

For the fulfilment of customs formalities the transporter only acts as the agent of the sender. Abnormal waiting times at customs as a result of such matters as strikes, problems with the consignment note or any types of customs documents, etc. give a right to a price supplement.

Terms of payment

All invoices from the transporter must be paid no later than within 30 days of the invoice date in the way specified by the transporter, unless a different due date is specified. After the passing of the due date, the client is by right considered to be in default without written notice of default being required and immediately becomes owing conventional damage compensation amounting to 15% of the due amount with a minimum of 125 euros, as well as interest from the due date amounting to 1.5% per month, whereby a part of the month is charged as a whole month.

The client grants the transporter a conventional right of retention and right of lien on all goods, containers and trailers, and this up to the payment of all overdue amounts that the client is still owing to the transporter, even should these amounts have a cause other than the transport order given.

The different debt claims of the transporter to the client, even if they relate to different shipments and to goods that are no longer in the possession of the transporter, form a single and indivisible debt for which the transporter may exercise all its rights legal and otherwise.

The transporter will under no circumstances consent to setting off between its invoices and any amounts receivable from the client to the transporter. Should in specific individual cases the above be waivered, this will in no case whatsoever grant any rights for the future.

Any complaints with regard to the invoices from the transporter must be submitted in writing and within eight days of receipt of the invoice, and must be sent by registered mail to the address of the registered office of the transporter.

Dissolution – cancellation

Dead freight and return freight are always charged according to the freight costs. Dead freight is understood to mean a late cancellation or change to a planned order after the times specified below:

For container transport:

  • Transport order single route < 400 km:
    • In the case of changes or cancellation after 12:00 hours (12 a.m./midday), one day before carrying out the transport 75% of the freight costs is charged.
    • In the case of changes or cancellation after 14:00 hours (2 p.m.), one day before carrying out the transport 100% of the freight costs is charged.
    • In the case of changes or cancellation on the day of transport 100% of the freight costs is charged.
  • Transport order single distance < 400 km:
    • In the case of changes or cancellation after 14:00 hours (2 p.m.), two days before carrying out the transport 50% of the freight costs is charged.
    • In the case of changes or cancellation after 17:00 hours (5 p.m.), two days before carrying out the transport 100% of the freight costs is charged.
    • In the case of changes or cancellation on the day before the first planned unloading time or on the day of the transport 100% of the freight costs is charged.

For all other transport than container transport:

  • In the case of changes or cancellation notified after 12:00 hours (12 a.m./midday), one day before the first loading time 75% of the freight costs is charged.
  • In the case of changes or cancellation notified after 15:00 hours (3 a.m.), one day before the first loading time 100% of the freight costs is charged.

Applicable law and competent lawcourt

The transporter and the client are subject to Belgian law with regard to these general conditions and with regard to all agreements between the parties. For both the transport of goods along national inland waterways and the international transport of goods along inland waterways – subject to the provisions of mandatory law from the Law on Inland Shipping of 5 May 1936 – the provisions from the Treaty of Budapest relating to agreements for the transport of goods along inland waterways (hereafter referred to as: “CMNI”) are applicable.

The authorised law courts of the registered office of the transporter are competent to judge any disputes between parties. In cases whereby the CMR convention is applicable, besides the abovementioned law courts the law courts mentioned in article 31, 1st paragraph of the CMR convention are also internationally competent.

Invalidity

Any invalidity of one of the provisions in these conditions in no event causes the invalidity of the other provisions, which will remain fully applicable.

TITLE II. GOODS TRANSPORT BY ROAD

Liability and legal framework/CMR

The mandatory provisions of the CMR convention are applicable to each transport order and its execution.

The transporter exonerates itself from any other liability with the exception of that the provided for in the CMR convention and any other mandatory regulations.

The transporter hence bears no liability for damage or delays originating during with the loading and unloading of the goods (also not due to thawing).

The receipt or the delivery of the goods takes place at the point of business or on the quay, unless otherwise agreed. Any further route to be followed to the premises of the client, shipper or addressee is the exclusive responsibility of this party, who must make sure that this can take place in all safety.

The delivery of goods on a quay at ports without unloading by the addressee will be regarded as receipt without reservation.

The transporter accepts no responsibility whatsoever concerning the condition of containers and/or cargo (i.e. goods and/or pallets of whatever nature). Signing the receipt or interchange only applies as receipt for the container and/or cargo. The containers and/or cargo passed to the transporter are received without examining their content, with the “said to contain” stipulation being legally applicable.

Unless mentioned otherwise on the consignment note, no transport order is accepted under a stipulation of cash on delivery, under the assumed value of the goods or special importance on delivery. The transport of risk-entailing goods (jewels, money, antiquities, securities, goods subject to excise duty, etc.) is only accepted at the risk of the client.

Freight fees and transport costs

Should after acceptance of the order an extra stop have to be included on the route, an additional payment of €60.00 is charged. This is however under the explicit condition that this additional stop lasts no longer than 1 hour.

If after the acceptance of the order an extra stop is required away from the initially agreed route, this will only take place with the explicit agreement of the transporter, with the client having agreed upon the extra costs for this with the transporter.

Waiting times

The period for loading and unloading is calculated from presentation at the addressee, irrespective of whether the goods are accepted or otherwise. This period amounts to:

  • A maximum of two hours for a full load or container transport

  • For groupage the following waiting times are applicable:

    • Waiting times 25 hours unloading time
    • up to 5 pallets Free
    • 6 to 10 pallets 5 hours unloading time free
    • 11 to 20 pallets 1 hour unloading time free
    • 21 to complete 2 hours unloading time free
    • extra unloading/waiting time €15/15 minutes

For each additional hour an additional waiting time payment of €60.00 is calculated excl. VAT.

Waiting times are always calculated per started half hour (€30.00 excl. VAT).

Should in specific individual cases the above be waivered, this will in no case whatsoever grant any rights for the future.

In cases of force majeure (weather conditions, exceptional traffic conditions, strikes, etc.) the transporter is entitled to either change the freight fees and conditions or break the transport agreement without any compensation unless otherwise agreed.

Specific container transport conditions

The provisions in this section apply without prejudice to the other provisions in the present general transport conditions. This section only applies for container transport. The specific conditions below therefore only apply to container transport.

The transporter can be held liable at no time whatsoever for any costs with respect to Demurrage or Detention. The transporter carries out the order fully in compliance with the order as submitted by the client. All additional costs resulting from the order as the order was submitted by the client, or that are the consequence of incomplete information provided to the transporter, are fully at the expense of the client and are always the exclusive responsibility of the client.

In the event of an extra drop, an additional fixed sum of 60.00 euros is charged. All orders as well as all information required to carry out the order must be provided in full and in good time and no later than before:

  • Transport single route < 400 km: 10:00 hours (10 a.m.), one daybefore the transport

  • Transport single route > 400 km: 17:00 hours (5 p.m.), two daysbefore transport

In the absence of the on-time and full submission of the order or the on-time provision of the necessary collection and delivery information to carry out the order, the order will be automatically cancelled and a dead freight fee will be charged. Dead freight is always calculated according to the ‘Dissolution – cancellation’ provision in the present conditions.

Pallet exchange

The exchange of pallets with deposit only takes place after an explicit written order. The administration of pallet exchange at the loading point takes place by the loader and is periodically sent to the transporter for control.

With the non-return of pallets with deposit at the unloading place the client will act in recovering such pallets. If after a second attempt there are still no pallets with deposit present at the unloading place, the cost of these pallets is deducted from the outstanding balance at the loading address or they will be invoiced.

Pallets with deposit are always charged at a price of 16 euros/pallet, with an administrative cost of 25.00 euros being charged.

Loading – unloading – weight – stowage

Unless specified otherwise in writing, the parties explicitly agree that loading and unloading takes place by the client or the addressee. To the extent that the driver is requested by the client or the addressee to do this work, this takes place under the explicit supervision, control and as a responsibility of the client or addressee. The transporter bears no liability whatsoever for damage caused by and/or during loading and unloading.

Unless established otherwise in writing, and to the extent this is possible and/or required, stowage is provided by the transporter based on the instructions of the client that are provided in conformity with the applicable legislation depending on the route. Should the vehicle used by the transporter or the stowage used appear unsuitable because incorrect or incomplete information was communicated by the client, or when the transport packaging appears not to be strong enough to allow correct load securement, the costs and damage originating will be fully at the expense of the client.

The movement of the vehicle on the premises of the client or addressee takes place fully on the instruction of and as a responsibility of the latter. The transporter can however object to these instructions if the local circumstances in his opinion endanger his vehicle or the load. The client or addressee bind themselves to provide and maintain the access roads and stopping places in such a way that the vehicles of the transporter can manoeuvre easily and safely.

Should no authorised person be present on-site at the agreed time of delivery, the transporter is instructed to unload the goods to be delivered on-site, after which the delivery is communicated by the transporter to the client by any means and the latter is considered to have accepted the delivery without reservation.

Unless the client has explicitly requested the transporter to check the gross weight of the load in the sense of art. 8 paragraph 3 of the CMR, the client remains responsible for any overloading, also overloading per axle, which is established during transport. The client will then pay any originating costs, including damage due to immobilisation of the vehicle and any fines or other legal expenses that may result.

TITLE III. MULTIMODAL TRANSPORT

Definitions

An agreement for multi-modal transport in the context of these general conditions as described a single transport agreement whereby the transporter accepts the obligation to transport the goods or have them transported, whereby it is agreed that two or more transport modes will be used or whereby it is agreed that two or more transport modes can be used, and two or more transport modes will actually be used when carrying out the transport agreement.

The transported goods are not understood as towed or pushed vessels, nor the luggage nor the vehicles of the transported persons. If the goods are brought together in a container or if they are packaged, this transport unit or packaging are only also understood as “goods” if these are provided by the client.

Liability and legal framework

To the extent the transporter transports the goods or has them transported using multi-modal transport, the mandatory provisions of the CMR convention, the CMNI convention, the COTIF-CIM convention and the Treaty of Montreal are applicable to the transport carried out by road, along inland waterways, by rail or by air transport respectively.

Specifically for goods transported by road:

To the extent multi-modal transport is partly carried out by goods transport by road, the provisions in Title II of these general conditions are fully applicable.

Specifically for goods transported by inland waterways within the context of multi-modal transport:

For the transport of goods along national inland waterways and the international transport of goods along inland waterways, for good transported along inland waterways – subject to the provisions of mandatory law from the Law on Inland Shipping of 5 May 1936 – the provisions from the Treaty of Budapest relating to agreements for the transport of goods along inland waterways (hereafter referred to as: “CMNI”) are applicable.

The provisions of the CMNI convention are applicable to each transport order and its execution. When during transport damage is caused to other goods that belong to or are under the care of the client, loader or addressee, but are not counted among the goods to be transported, the transporter is only liable for damage attributable to a fault by his appointed parties.

The client is bound to indemnify the transporter if the transported goods cause damage to other goods on board the ship or to the ship itself.

The transporter is not liable for loss or damage to the goods if this is attributable to:

  • the absence of, the defectiveness or the inadequacy of the packaging of the goods.
  • The action or negligence of the client, the addressee or the competent person.
  • The handing, loading, stowage or unloading of the goods by the client, the addressee or third parties who are acting on behalf of the client or the addressee.
  • The transport of goods on the deck or in holds to the extent this is agreed with the client, is in conformity with working practices or to the extent this is required on the basis of the applicable regulations.
  • The nature of the goods being such that they are wholly or partly exposed to loss or damage, in particular by breakage, rust, internal deterioration, drying out, leakage, normal loss during transport (in both volume and weight) or by vermin or rodents.
  • Insufficient or inadequate identification marks on the goods.
  • Help or rescue operations or attempts for this on waterways.
  • Transport of live animals.

 

In any case, the extent of the liability of the transporter for damage to goods other than those to be transported per case of damage is limited to a maximum of 2 SDR for each gross kg weight of the weight mentioned in the transport document

To the extent the value of the goods exceeds the following amounts, the liability of the transporter is in each case limited to 666.67 SDR/package (or per load unit) or 2 SDR per kilogram of the weight mentioned in the transport document of the lost or damaged goods. To the extent the goods are transported in a container and no package or loading units are mentioned in the transport document, the liability of the transporter is limited to 25,000.00 SDR for the goods transported in the container and – to the extent the container is not the property of the transporter – 1,500.00 SDR for the container.

The transporter is in any case not liable for loss or damage to goods that in compliance with the information in the transport document are stowed in a container or in the holds of the ship, and that have been sealed by other persons than the transporter, his subordinates or mandatories, and the container or the seals were not damaged or broken up to the unloading port or the place of delivery.

Non-identified damage

If damage originates during multi-modal transport, and to the extent this damage cannot be identified as originating during the carrying out of the transport agreement with a specific transport mode, the client explicitly declares to be in agreement with the applicability of the liability provisions as included in the CMR convention for such cases of damage.

The transporter will under no circumstances be liable for any indirect damage or consequential damage that is caused to goods not considered as transported.

Should and to the extent the transporter is legally held liable for direct damage resulting from a delay in delivery, the liability of the transporter will always be limited to the freight costs. The transporter cannot be held liable for any consequential damage that may result from a delay in the delivery of the goods.

If the damage to or loss of the goods is visible at the time of delivery, notification of this damage or loss must be immediately submitted in writing at the time of delivery of the goods or the time when the goods should have been delivered to the person authorised to take receipt of the goods. If the damage or loss is not visible, this notification must be submitted no later than 3 days after the time of delivery, or the time when the goods should have been delivered.   

In the absence of such notification, the delivery of the goods is regarded as prima facie proof of delivery in the condition in which the transporter took receipt of the goods.

Each claim made against the transporter within the context of multi-modal transport must be made within a period of one year from the date on which the goods were delivered or should have been delivered.

The transporter can be held liable at no time whatsoever for any costs with respect to Demurrage or Detention.

GTS is not liable for damage, losses or other consequences following a sudden, violent natural cause without human involvement, of which the consequences could not be prevented in the given circumstances by reasonably to be expected measures. We are also exempt from liability for damage, losses or delays due to special weather conditions such as hail, snow, floods or storms, in the case of action taken by an authority or other regulating authority, with strikes or other disturbances or other unforeseen circumstances. This is considered as force majeure.