Substantial changes to the articles of Italian Civil Code regarding transport and freight forwarding contracts have been introduced by the Decree Law n° 152/2021, as amended by the Law n° 233 of 29th December 2021, just published in the Official Bulletin n° 10 of 14th January 2022 (S.O. n° 2).
The addition which seems likely to have the most significant impact on the world of logistic and transport is at paragraph 1(a) of article 30-bis of the Decree 152/2021, by which article 1696 of the Civil Code (“Assessment of compensation in case of loss or damage”) is amended.
Because of the reform, from now on the limits previously set by article 1696 will no longer apply to multimodal transport and will be applicable, instead, to road transports only: € 1/kg for domestic transports and SDR 8,33/kg for international transports.
At the same time, the reform of article 1696 sets new limits, specific for multimodal transports (defined as those where “transport is performed by way of more vehicles of distinct nature”): € 1/kg for domestic transports (same as above) and € 3/kg for international transports (much lower than above).
These limits are only applicable to cases where it is not known in which leg of the transport the damages occurred.
The reform does not change the previous rule stating that a carrier’s liability cannot be limited if the loss or damage to the goods are due to gross negligence or willful misconduct.
The rule’s wording does not seem particularly accurate, however the fact is that from now on a specific limitation sum for carrier’s liability will be applied to multimodal transports and such sum is much lower than the corresponding figure applicable to international unimodal transports.