WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 347–375 | Cite as

Equality of bargaining power in contracts for international liner shipping

Review Article


Mandatory rules exist in contracts for international liner shipping primarily because of imbalances and non-equity in the allocation of contract responsibilities. The superior bargaining position owned by the carriers depends largely upon liner market monopoly levels, the supply and demand balance between the shipper and carrier, and the cargo volume size of the shippers. With the development of shipping technologies, mode of transport, and shipping competition policy, the unequal comparison of bargaining forces between shippers and carriers changes. When the existing mandatory rule was deemed no longer necessary due to changing circumstances, legislation requirements to restore freedom to contract became apparent. When both sides have equal bargaining power, adoption of the principle of freedom of contract for their business relationships is suitable. The Rotterdam Rules concerning freedom of volume contract construction is based on equal bargaining powers between both sides and responds to the evolving situation of the industry. The Rules represent the development trend of today’s theory of contracts for international liner shipping and the demand for legal and institutional changes.


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Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nankai University School of LawTianjinChina

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