What is “claims handling” and how can road carriers deal more effectively with damage to the goods?

To date, there are over 10,000 companies in Bulgaria with at least one truck registered for international carriage of goods. According to the Ministry of Transport, these companies are actively engaged in freight transport and this is their main commercial activity. International carriers benefit from successful deliveries of all kinds of goods.

In order to be rewarded for their business, the cargo must arrive at the delivered address in the same condition as it was loaded at the beginning of the shipment. However, if the goods arrive in a damaged condition with torn packaging, the consignee has the right to write a remark on the bill of lading, to refuse receipt of the goods and directly send a claim to the carrier for the damage suffered.

The transport claim can also be directed to the carrier in cases of delay or theft of the cargo from the vehicle’s trailer. The basic rule here is that the carrier is responsible for all damage to the goods during the shipment. However, there are cases where the sustained damage is caused by circumstances which are beyond the control of the carrier and for this reason – it he might be exempted from liability.

In both cases timely intervention by experts in the field of transport cargo claims is required. Otherwise,
the material losses for the carrier can easily exceed tens of thousands of euros.

s the ‘architects’ of the transport sector, the forwarders can also find themselves in a similar situation if damage has occurred during transport organized by them. They are responsible to their customers for equally for the successful expedition of the goods and for the choice of a suitable
carrier. In some cases, freight forwarders are faced not only with the heavy task of resolving the transport claim with their customers, but also of successfully recovering the losses incurred by the carrier who caused the damage. In this line of thought – all damages of this type are settled in
accordance with their own facts and the applicable transport laws.

International carriage of goods by road is governed by the CMR Convention (1). It is the main legal instrument for the settlement of transport claims. The CMR Convention has been adopted in over 40 countries where transport services are strictly regulated by the CMR rules.

Successful implementation of these transport laws is a major key in the successful settlement of cases with damage to the goods. When the different participants in the logistics sector are facing such type of claim – they should seek the assistance of professionals in the field of the CMR Convention as well as in national transport laws. This will guarantee them optimal handling of the case and avoiding unnecessary costs and penalties.


To ensure that they minimize the losses for their company, the players in the transport sector must rely on sustained and successful claims handling when they are facing a case with damage during transport. Regardless of the type of transport, the goods transported by him can be stolen or
damaged during the expedition. “Claims Handling” is the handling and successful resolution of these damages.

The service includes all processes related to case control, communication with all involved parties (carriers, freight forwarders, cargo owners, insurers, brokers and law enforcement agencies), organizing an emergency surveyor and negotiating with the claimant. When drafting a
case-by-case opinion, experts who offer this type of service are also committed to successfully implementing the rules of the CMR Convention.

Effective settlement of transport damages depends directly on how the claim will be assessed and processed. Due to the importance of these tasks,
many carriers and freight forwarders are turning to specialists in the field of “claims handling”. It is the most efficient way for them to be sure that they will not be affected by undue influence and that their liability will be determined by the applicable national and international laws.

It is indisputable that the dynamics in the transport sector are often dictated by the rising costs for the road carriers. These increasing costs force companies to rely on more innovative and flexible solutions that can improve their business processes. Successful “claims handling” in the transport
sector is undoubtedly one of these solutions that will make a significant contribution towards costs optimization.

The dedicated team from “Claims Trans” is ready to answer all of your questions about road carrier’s liability as well as cargo claims for goods in international carriage.

Contacts: claims@claimstrans.bg ( +359 886 79 90 40 / +359 893 60 04 35 )

Reference list:
1. CMR Convention – Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) (Geneva, 19
May 1956)
2. TAPA – Transported Asset Protection Association; < https://www.tapa-global.org/about-tapa.html >