A “Common Carrier” is one who holds himself out as ready for hire for transport of goods of all persons from one place to another, by land, sea or air, for reward. He must do his work as a business and not as casual occupation.
Section 2 of the carriers Act 1865 defines a “Common Carrier” as “a person, other than Government, engaged in the business of transporting for hire, property from places place by land or inland navigation, for all persons indiscriminately”.
Kinds of Carrier
- Common Carrier
- Gratuitous Carrier
- Private Carrier
A common carrier owes a public duty to transport goods upon offer of payment. He is liable in damages for refusal to carry goods upon an offer of hire; however, common carriers may rightfully refuse to carry goods under proper circumstances.
In this kind of carrier one person undertakes to carry passengers or goods without any charge. If a “Gratuitous Carrier” refuses to accept goods or passengers, no action may be taken against him. But when he gives his consent to cary goods or passengers, he will be liable in damages.
Where a person carries goods occasionally or by special agreement, he is known as a Private Carrier. He has the responsibility of a bailee and negligence must be proved to make him liable for loss or damage.
At present many of the larger industrial and commercial concerns transport their merchandise by means of their trucks or vans. They are a private carrier.
Where a private carrier accepts goods under individual contracts, he is called a contract carrier.
|Common Carrier||Private Carrier|
|Those who carry goods are passengers for all and sundry who choose to employ them and are willing to pay the reasonable reward||Those who undertake to supply transportation in special instances and upon special arrangement|
|The common carrier is controlled under the carrier Act 1865||Its activities are governed by contract Act 1872|
|He is liable in damages for refusal to carry goods upon an offer to hire||He is not liable in damage in case of refusal for transporting|
|Where he undertakes by special agreement to carry that which he is not under an obligation to carry, he becomes a private carrier as to those goods||This carrier is not a common carrier for another carrier|
|As he renders valuable services for all groups of society, its business is to be affected with a public interest||He carries goods for special group of persons by special contract|
|A common carrier must do his work as a regular business and not as a casual occupation||Private carrier perform his services occasionally and not as a regular business|
|It has to serve all indiscriminately and no right to reject the goods offered for conveyance||Private carrier can discriminate. He reserves the right to reject goods|
Duties of Common Carrier
Acceptance for Carriage
He is bound to carry all goods offered to him for carriage by persons willing to pay his hire.
A carrier must follow his customary route and must not deviate from it without cause.
Goods Delivered in Time
The carrier must deliver the goods within the time expressed in the contract for delivery or within a reasonable time. He is liable for any delay caused by his negligence.
Goods Delivered to Right Person
He has a duty to deliver the goods to the right person and is liable if he delivers them to another.
He must carry the goods safely and deliver them safely to their destination, which may be stipulated in the agreement.
Notice for Declaration and Extra Charges
The carrier must serve a notice where the goods are received drawing attention to the need for a declaration a giving the scale of extra charges, and must give a receipt for the extra charges.
Rights of Carriers
Right of Lien
Common carrier’s lien entitles a carrier to retain goods delivered for carriage until freight and storage charges are paid.
Right to recover Expenses
He has a right to recover reasonable expenses incurred by him as a result of the consignee’s refusal to take delivery.
Right of Action
Carrier has a right of action for recovery of the goods or their value from the person who wrongfully accepted the goods.
Right to Recover the Cost of Carriage
He is entitled to demand the cost of carriage when the goods are delivered to him and if this is not paid, he may law fully refuse to deliver them.
Right of Refusal
He can refuse to carry goods when
- There is no room for the goods in this conveyance.
- The goods are not of the type that the carrier transports;
- The goods are not properly packed;
- The goods are of
- The consignor is not prepared to pay reasonable charges;
- The carriage involves a
routon which he does not usually operate.
Right of Selling Goods
After giving notice to the consignee he may sell perishable goods.
Right in case of Non Disclosure
He is entitled to recover damages or loss from consignor caused to him due to nondisclosure of any necessary facts in the goods.
Right of Limitation of Liability
Common carrier may also, by a special contract with the consignor, limit his liability in any particular way.
Liabilities of Common Carriers
Liability for Delay
The common carrier will be liable for any damage caused by its delay.
Liability for Delivery
The carrier will be liable for an erroneous delivery regardless of the reason for misdelivery.
Liability for the safety of Goods
He is entirely responsible for the safety of the goods carried except when the loss or damage arises from:
- An act of God
- Inherent vice in the goods themselves.
- Acts of the enemies of the state.
- The consignor’s own fault.
- An acts of Public Authorities.
Liability for Injury
He is liable for injury to the passenger’s person only if guilty of negligence.