Summary of International Road Carriage Act

The International Road Carriage Act B.E. 2556 (the “IRC Act”) is a new law on international land transport that will become effective on 18 March 2014 (90 days after its publication in the Royal Gazette).  The IRC Act does not apply to goods which are delivered to carriers before 18 March 2014.

The IRC Act governs the rights and duties of parties involved in the carriage of goods (i.e., movable property, animals and containers of goods) on roads either (1) from Thailand to another country, (2) from another country to Thailand, (3) from one country to another country through Thailand or (4) when a party to such transaction is a Thai national or a legal entity established under Thai laws unless the parties agree to use another law to govern their rights and duties.

The IRC Act sets forth minimum standards for the terms and conditions of carriage of goods.  Although the IRC Act grants the parties freedom of contract with respect to their relationship, any agreement which is less strict than those set out in the IRC Act would be void (for example, an agreement to release or limit the liabilities of the carrier below those set out in the IRC Act).  

The carrier is generally responsible to the consignor or consignee for the loss and damage to the goods and for the delayed delivery of the goods unless the carrier can prove certain facts or circumstances which are exceptions to the carrier’s liabilities under the IRC Act.  Subject to certain exceptions, however, the carrier’s liability is limited to 8.33 Special Drawing Right (“SDR”) units per kilogram (or around THB 400 per kilogram) and, for delayed delivery, an amount not exceeding the carrier’s fees.

The Intellectual Properties and International Trade Court generally has jurisdiction over disputes arising from the transactions under the IRC Act, but the parties may also bring a dispute before other foreign courts in certain circumstances.  Arbitration may also be used as an alternative dispute resolution method.