It is always nice to get some feedback and inputs from the readers of the blog.. Here is one question that has come up :
Who is a multi-modal transport operator and how do they differ from a freight forwarder..??
Before we go to the question, lets discuss what is a Multi-Modal transport.. As the name may indicate, it is a method of transportation of goods from Point A to Point B using Multiple Modes of transportation, covered under one bill of lading.. This Point A and Point B are in different countries.. Multiple modes of transport include – road, rail, air and sea..
So who then is a Multi Modal Transport Operator..?? Based on the above definition, we can say that under the current scenario all of the below entities MAY be termed as a Multi Modal Transport Operator :
- Shipping Lines – because under Carrier Haulage, they undertake rail, road modes of transport – either via their own infrastructure or via 3rd party
- Freight Forwarder – because in a lot of cases specially where they issue House Bills, they are taking on the role of the carrier and as such may and in a lot of cases do offer rail, road and sea modes of transport – either via their own infrastructure or via 3rd party
- NVOCC Operators – because in most cases the NVOCC performs/undertakes the services of a Shipping Line/Freight Forwarder combined, alongwith the risks/responsibilities that comes with performing such services.. This could include but not restricted to offering rail, road and sea modes of transport – either via their own infrastructure or via 3rd party
- In short – any entity that signs a muli-modal contract, assumes the responsibility for the same, and issues a multi-modal transport document to the merchant..