Hague Rules

Although international shipping has existed for centuries, the rules that regulate the industry are actually fairly new. The reason for the uniform rules is to ensure that carries and shippers are both honest with their agreements and that the same standard is followed around the World. The first major set of international rules to set that standard for proper ocean freight shipping were the Hague Rules. They are named after The Hague in the Netherlands after the draft of the rules was created there in 1924.

At the time of implementation, The Hague Rules established minimum international shipping obligations and rules that are found in the bill of lading. They are very basic shipping protocols that were established with the Hague Rules. For carriers, the requirements include things like proper handling of freight and agreeing to follow all of the terms listed. Shippers also have obligations to pay for the shipping and packing the freight. Although the Hague Rules may seem like basic requirements today, back then they were revolutionary in the shipping industry. After the creation of the Hague Rules, many nations followed them.

In the 1960s, the Hague Rules were updated and became the Hague-Visby Rules. Today, there is a new set of international rules that many nations follow, including the United States. The new set is called the Rotterdam Rules. They were signed in early 2009 and made changes to modernize the shipping rules. Freight forwarders strongly support the changes to help improve the international shipping industry.