The court and COGSA reform

The court and COGSA reform

The Supreme Court's decision in Norfolk Southern vs. Kirby could have only an indirect effect on international efforts to reform the Carriage of Goods by Sea convention, according to attorney Michael F. Sturley.

Sturley is a professor of admiralty law at the University of Texas and one of the attorneys representing Kirby Engineering. Journal of Commerce readers know him as one of the U.S. delegates to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, which is considering the draft of a new COGSA convention.

The issue before the Supreme Court is whether Norfolk Southern's liability for damages is limited to COGSA's $500 per-package maximum. The court's decision on package limits could be a matter of debate in the UNCITRAL working group, Sturley said. "Everything is interrelated, and any compromise on the package limit will need to consider every piece of the puzzle," he said.