In the last two years we have seen an increase in claims in the commercial courts by carriers against the shipper. These claims are based on the direct action the D.A. 6ª of the Ley 9/13, on the 4 July, on the management of Road Transport grants.

Basically, the law establishes that in the situation in which there is an intermediate party in the transport agreement, the carrier that actually performs the transport would have direct action for the unpaid freight against the shipper and other parties that had preceded him in the contractual chain.

This action is very similar to the sub-employment action but with some differences. The principal shipper does not only answer for the remaining debt but answers even if the freight was paid to the first carrier of the chain. Having multiple carriers is very typical in cross-border transport.

The road transportation community and the legal professionals have strongly reacted to this legal provision, based on the famous French law Gassot that could take the principal shipper to pay the freight as many times as unpaid carriers are within the transport chain. Our firm believes this measure could be unjust, although it gives more opportunities to the subcontracted carriers to receive payment of their services. This provision makes jointly liable for the freight to all the ascending parties of the chain, and discriminates other parts of the sector that do not have this broad direct action.

There is no doubt that if this reform penetrates in the road transport industry it could affect small intermediaries. The shipper would pay the freight to the big transport companies and would rely on them passing it through all the chain.

Navarro Llima Abogados would defend your interests in the best possible way. If you are within the above mentioned broad transport chain, please do not hesitate to request individual legal advice.

Guillermo Martinez


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