TT Talk - Amendments to the Maritime Chapter of the Commercial Code in South Korea


  • Date: 18/02/2008
  • Source: TT Talk 106

Hyopsung Shipping Corporation, the TT Club s Network Partner in Korea, alerted us to a circular by the law firm Kim & Chang (Seoul) on amendments to the Maritime Chapter of the South Korean Commercial Code. These amendments include the following points:

  • Carriage of goods by sea:

The Maritime Chapter will resemble the Hague-Visby Rules to a larger extent. The amendments increase the package limitation to 666.67 SDR and introduce a weight liability limit of 2 SDR per kilogram (in contrast to the other changes, this weight limit will only come into force on 3 August 2010); the carrier will be liable for the higher of the two amounts. Furthermore, an indemnity claim against a third party will not be extinguished before the lapse of three months commencing on the day when a complaint has been filed or when the person who brings the indemnity claim has settled the claim.

  • Sea waybill; electronic carriage documentation

The parties can agree that the carrier issues a sea waybill instead of a bill of lading. Moreover, the parties have the option to use an electronic bill of lading by way of registration at a registry designated by the Minster of Justice. Such an electronic bill of lading will have the legal effects of the traditional paper bill of lading. Like a bill of lading, a sea waybill, too, can be issued in electronic form.

  • Multimodal transport

The amendments also introduce a provision on liability for multimodal transport, defined as including carriage other than by sea. If the location of the loss or damage can be established, the legal rules which govern that portion of the carriage will apply to the loss or damage. Conversely, if it is not clear during which portion of the carriage the loss or damage occurred, or if the nature of the loss or damage does not permit the allocation of the loss or damage to a specific portion of the carriage, the carrier s liability will be determined pursuant to the legal rules applicable to the portion of the carriage that is of the longest distance; if the distances happen to be identical or if it is not possible to determine which portion of the carriage is the longest, the legal rules which govern the portion of the carriage with the highest carriage charges will apply.

Promulgation date of the amendments was 3 August 2007 hence these amendments will come into force on 3 August 2008 (one year from the promulgation date), except the newly introduced weight limitation of 2 SDR per kilogram for sea carriage which will only become law on 3 August 2010 (three years from the promulgation date) 

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