Incorporating standard trading conditions for freight operators

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Standard trading conditions serve an important function in the logistics industry, providing contractual protections and managing risks. However, ensuring that these conditions are adequately incorporated is crucial for businesses to rely on them when needed.

Selecting appropriate standard trading conditions

When choosing which standard trading conditions to adopt, freight operators should consider the services they provide, the laws and jurisdiction of their country, and the benefits of well-established, litigated wording. Businesses may adopt multiple sets of conditions for different services, but clarity is essential to avoid uncertainty.

Incorporation of standard trading conditions

Effective incorporation of standard trading conditions is vital, as failure to do so can prevent operators from relying on the terms during disputes or claims. While a signed document remains the most robust method, alternative approaches include:

  • Referencing the conditions in emails, bills of lading, delivery notes, or invoices
  • Providing website links or PDF attachments with clear guidance on applicable terms

Timing is crucial, as conditions must be incorporated before the contract is concluded through offer and acceptance.

Governance and training

Consistent adherence to policies and procedures is essential, with proper training for all staff involved in contract formation. Clear escalation processes and monitoring for compliance are recommended.

Consequences of inadequate incorporation

If standard trading conditions are not properly incorporated, freight operators may face unexpected financial exposures and liabilities not covered by insurance. Insurers typically provide coverage based on the approved standard trading conditions' limits.

Interaction with international conventions

While incorporated standard trading conditions outline limits, liability terms, and time bars, they are superseded by applicable international conventions like CMR for international road shipments.


Selecting appropriate standard trading conditions is just the starting point. Proper incorporation into dealings with customers, before contract conclusion, is vital for freight operators to rely on these risk management tools during disputes. Stakeholders must prioritise this process to protect their businesses effectively.


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  • TT Live Series 1 - episode 6 - Incorporating standard trading conditions 235 KB


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Mike Yarwood

TT Club

Geraldine Savin

TT Club