IF they broke it, they pay for it

Updated Jan 13, 2010

Origin carrier dictates interline, concurrence agreement

Q- We have an interline agreement or concurrence with a connecting carrier that states that National Motor Freight Classification freight claims rules apply with no provisions for exceptions. As the origin carrier, our limit of liability is $25 per pound. The delivering carrier damaged the load and now claims their maximum liability is only $1 per pound, but this limitation is not incorporated in anything to which either we or our customer agreed. Their delivery receipt shows a limitation of liability, but the shipments were prepaid and we were the origin carrier. Is there any merit to their release rate argument?

A- No. An interline agreement or concurrence has its roots in the days of regulation when most carriers could not offer through service from origin to destination, but the law involving interline service has not been changed or modified. The origin carrier issues the through bill of lading, and its terms and conditions – as well as any limit of liability – apply to any carrier in possession and control of the goods under the bill of lading.

Congress has left the relevant statutes in place to permit interline service and the issuance of a through bill. It is part of the Carmack Amendment that provides that the delivering and origin carriers both are responsible for the full actual value of the loss sustained when a shipment is moving under a through bill. [See 49 U.S.C.