Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936

Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936. This is the United States version of COGSA and it incorporates the Hague Rules 1924, with certain differences.

In the United States, if there is any difference between the application of the Hague Rules and COGSA, the Act prevails. COGSA applies to shipments under bills of lading or similar documents of title, which are evidence of the contract of carriage of goods by sea to or, from U.S. ports. It covers transportation in U.S. foreign trade. In the U.S., two other major Acts cover transportation: the Harter Act 1893 (on which it is considered the original Hague Rules were modelled) which covers domestic carriage unless the bill of lading contains a Paramount clause applying the COGSA 1936; and the Pomerene Act 1916, which applies to all bills of lading issued in the United States for domestic carriage and also for outward shipments (only).

The COGSA 1936 is somewhat different to the COGSA 1971 of the United Kingdom. For example, the former simply implements the Hague Rules (as modified) in “sections” whereas the latter contains its own sections and then gives the force of law to the Hague-Visby Rules, contained in a Schedule to the Act.

One major difference between the United States COGSA and the Hague Rules or Hague-Visby Rules is the provision in the former for an ocean carrier to limit liability to US$500 per package or “customary freight unit” if the goods are not in packages. The freight unit can be the tonne, long ton, cubic metre or actual object, for example, a vehicle.


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Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA)

Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971 (COGSA)