Your questions answered: Does our company have Chain of Responsibility obligations if we only use a freight forwarder?

By Portner Press on January 22nd, 2020
  1. Risk Management
  2. Chain of Responsibility

If our company uses freight forwarders do we still fall under the Chain of Responsibility regulations even though it is not our business?
In short, if a business performs a ‘transport activity’, then it is a party in the Chain.

‘Transport activities’ means activities, including business practices and making decisions, associated with the use of a heavy vehicle on a road, including, for example—

  • contracting, directing or employing a person—
    • to drive the vehicle; or
    • to carry out another activity associated with the use of the vehicle (such as maintaining or repairing the vehicle); or
  • consigning goods for transport using the vehicle; or
  • scheduling the transport of goods or passengers using the vehicle; or
  • packing goods for transport using the vehicle; or
  • managing the loading of goods onto or unloading of goods from the vehicle; or
  • loading goods onto or unloading goods from the vehicle; or
  • receiving goods unloaded from the vehicle.

Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (NHVL), parties who engage a heavy vehicle operator (including through an agent or other party) to transport goods by road for commercial purposes will be generally classified as a consignor of goods. Further, even if the freight forwarder was held to be acting independently, if the goods are delivered to you, then it will be a consignee and, if the delivery premises are regular loading/unloading premises, you will also be a loading manager. Under any/all of those capacities, you will need to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of your transport activities relating to the vehicle used in transporting the goods

Your obligations under the NHVL will extend to exercising control and influence over the compliance of the supplier and transport operator, to the extent reasonably practicable. Therefore you may have duties in relation to any schedules that you set, delays at your sites and in relation to monitoring compliance by the transport operator of mass and load restraint laws.

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