Logistics and transport services law

Postal Services Law

There are over 110 licensed actors in the logistics (postal services) industry in Cameroon, which essentially involves the shipping & transportation of things (postal parcels, packages) from one place to another for customers and corporations. Postal services involve international & domestic mailing services, express deliveries, freight forwarding, warehousing, supply chain, etc, through the use of various transport avenues such as air, rail, road, and sea, and money transfer. It is an activity which cannot be carried out in Cameroon without a prior state permit which takes the form of a concession, a license, or a declaration (notification). The advent and ubiquity of technology is forcing operators in the postal services industry to embrace innovation and become digital service providers as well.
For many business experts, logistics services do not only constitute the backbone of several sectors, but also englobe many industries, including transportation services, distribution, packaging, warehousing, etc. For example, the agricultural and manufacturing sectors need logistics services to take products to the market and several intermediaries intervene along the supply chain, including, clearing agents, and truckers.

The postal activity is part of the logistics services industry and is primarily governed by an April 2020 law which repealed the 2006 law governing postal activities in Cameroon. A 2010 decree precedes that law and governs conditions for the authorisation of the installation and exploitation of postal networks and services by private operators. Other areas of law which touch on postal activities include, regulations on the issue & sale of postage stamps and postal bonds and to organize philately, contract law, electronic communication, electronic commerce (with the emergence of the use of online means for placing shipping orders), principles of trust and security, data protection and data sovereignty, transport law, customs & tariffs laws & regulations, insurance law, foreign direct investment regulations, international trade law, commercial law, employment law, OHADA business law, warranty law, consumer protection law, conflict of law rules, privacy law, inviolability of correspondence, etc.
Cameroon is a member state of the Universal Postal Union and a signatory of the Convention of the Universal Postal Union concerning postal parcels (1964). Dayspring Law Firm has one of the foremost postal practices and our postal service lawyers have an in depth understanding of the postal services industry and the legal issues that arise in this activity. We advise postal businesses and operators, including those offering financial postal services (postal money transfer, money orders, postal cheques, postal savings services, currency exchange, and other state licensed financial services), digital postal addressing, and we counsel operators in this sector to enable them to safely navigate the laws and regulations.

Air Transport Law

Air transport law in Cameroon is regulated by a number of domestic and international instruments. At the regional community level we have the CEMAC regional Civil Aviation Code of July 2000, at the global level we have the Warsaw system of Conventions including the Warsaw Convention of 1929, the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944, the Hague Protocol of 1955, etc, and the Montreal Convention of 1999. At the domestic level, the principal instruments are the 2013 Law regulating Civil Aviation in Cameroon and Decree no 2009/0052/PM of January 22, 2009 governing the liability of air transporters and laying down the rules of compensation for damages caused to passengers, to baggage, and goods. Regulatory instruments abound on issues such as airworthiness, airport fees, regulations on aviation professions, rules on the organisation and management of the Cameroon airspace, conditions to exercise the activity of air transport, operational permits, documents and aviation security controls, chartering aircrafts, registration of aircraft leases, the framework on aircrafts in distress, insurance of aircrafts, security and safety certificates, working conditions, aircraft maintenance rules, aviation medicine, air carrier liability, air cargo law issues, agent and forwarder liability, e-freight and e-air waybill, customs and international trade, compliance, etc.

Dayspring Law Firm provides business and legal advisory services on the law on air transport market access, air carrier capacity regulations, air carrier tariffs regulations, cargo regulation, regulation on air services, airline commercial activities rules, airline alliances, code-sharing and franchising, passenger rights and duties, airline conditions of contract/carriage, privatization of airports, ground handling, slot allocation issues, aircraft chartering and leasing (wet lease, dry lease, damp lease), etc. We equally assist passengers and airlines to settle disputes relating to liability in the case of death or injury to passengers, as well as in cases of delays, damage or loss of baggage and cargo, and provide general legal advisory services on logistics service regulations for freight forwarding businesses.

Maritime Law

Maritime (shipping, admiralty) law in Cameroon is governed principally by the United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea of 1978 commonly called the Hamburg Rules (in force since 1992), on the one hand, which largely establishes a uniform legal regime relating to the rights and obligations of shippers, carriers and consignees under contracts of carriage of goods by sea, the 2009 Rotterdam Rules (not yet in force, but ratified by Cameroon), which provides mandatory standards of liability for loss or damage arising from international carriage of goods by sea and overreaches into multimodal transport involving an international sea-leg and also deals with a range of issues not previously subject to mandatory international law, and the 2012 Revised Merchant Shipping Community Code of the CEMAC Region, on the other hand, which deals with a wider variety of shipping issues than the previous instruments, including maritime navigation, the jurisdiction of state parties on maritime space (state maritime land, territorial waters, exclusive economic zone, contiguous zone), the legal regime of vessels (individualisation, nationality, ship registration, maritime flags, signalling at sea, gauging), maritime vessel documentation, maritime navigation documents, marine pollution of ships, ownership of ships (registration & change of ownership), chartering of ships, change of flag, legal status of seafarers (merchant mariners), shipowners’ obligations towards seamen, ship crew, carriage by sea, maritime liens & mortgages (including “hypothèques”, charges, and rights of retention), maritime debts & ship arrest, seaworthiness certificates, security of vessels and port installations, classification societies, maritime incidents, maritime transport and auxiliary professions (consignee, stevedore, forwarder, inter-modal or multi-modal transport operator, shipbroker, etc), ship construction regulations, disciplinary and penal provisions, and maritime litigation.

Other instruments abound, especially those under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) of 1974/1980, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) of 1973, Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1974, International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter of 1972, etc. Other international instruments include the International Convention on Arrest of Ships of 1999, the International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages, 1993, etc.
Our maritime lawyers represent the full spectrum of operators (shipowners, ship operators, charterers, seafarers, domestic & foreign cargo interests, ship finance banks, shipyards, marine insurance underwriters, importers & exporters, manufacturers & distributors of consumer & industrial goods, governments, and brokers) in the maritime industry and provide legal advisory services to the maritime business community. Our maritime lawyers have been involved in maritime corporate transactional work, have advised on an array of regulatory and legal compliance issues, including international trade law compliance, ship financing & leasing transactions, second-hand sale & purchase of vessels transactions, port development & energy projects, liquid natural gas transportation & offshore rig assets and ports and related infrastructure (shipbuilding & construction contracts), charterparty & contracts of affreightment, export credit financing, market entry rules, expansion, problems regarding incidents or situations at sea, on the special status of seafarers, private maritime disputes, enforcement of maritime claims, pollution, marine insurance & reinsurance regulation (legal & documentary aspects of marine insurance contracts), maritime general liability, ship repairers’ legal liability, the liability and compensation framework of ship pollution, environmental protection, commercial maritime law, etc.

Road Transport Law

Putting a vehicle for transporting goods or passengers into circulation requires prior compliance with a number of laws and regulations. According to a report of the African Development Bank, in spite of poor road infrastructure, road transport accounts for roughly 90% of domestic demand of transport of travellers and about 75% of transport of goods. Three trans-African roads cross Cameroon, from North to South (Yaounde-Ndjamena-Brazzaville-Berberati), West to East (Easte Bangui – West Lagos), and the trans-African which connects Dakar-Ndjamena on which lies a 110 km stretch between Fotokol and Kousseri, both in the Far North region of Cameroon. Much of Cameroonian trade with neighbouring countries, enclaved countries, and the rest of the world take place via this trans-African road network.
The principal legal instrument which regulates road transport is the Economic & Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) Highway Code (2001), the Cameroon Highway Code (1979 as amended in 1986), the OHADA Uniform Act on the Carriage of Goods by Road (2004) which regulates the contractual aspects of domestic and international carriage of goods by road. It applies on all contracts of carriage of goods by road once the place of collection of goods as well as the place of delivery of the goods, as specified in the contract, are situated within the territory of an OHADA member state or within the territory of two different states, of which at least one is a member state of OHADA, without regard to the residence or nationality of the parties to the contract of carriage of goods by road. The Uniform Act excludes from its scope the transportation of dangerous goods, funerary consignments, and moving services (furniture removal) or carriage performed under the terms of international postal conventions.

There are other domestic instruments which regulate road traffic, road transport professions, weighing stations, registration of automobile vehicles, private transport services regulations, road safety, motor vehicle insurance, impounding of vehicles, driving schools & drivers’ licence rules, transportation of dangerous goods, rules on the implantation of interurban private road transport terminals and bus stations, rules relating to the importation of second-hand vehicles, etc.
Dayspring Law Firm provides legal advisory services on road transport law to carriers, consignees, road users, road transport professionals, public agencies, etc. We also help clients to draft contracts of carriage of goods by road and help them prepare related documents. We help operators across the road transport industry navigate complex road transport legislation.

Railway Transport

The Cameroonian state-owned railway network which is subdivided into two sections totals over 1100 km and plays an important part in the transport of goods, especially wood, oil & gas, cotton, and cattle. In 1999 this railway network which used to be state-run was privatized to Cameroon Railway (CAMRAIL) through a concession agreement for a period of twenty (20) years renewable every five (5) years, with CAMRAIL agreeing to pay a fixed annual concession fee of 500 million FCFA on the one hand, plus a proportional supplementary fee on turnover (2.25% at the end of the first year, 3% during the following four years, and 5% thereafter). By 2005, an amendment was made to the initial concession agreement extending the duration of the concession to thirty (30) years, that is until January 2035. By 2008 a second amendment was made to the concession agreement with a view to define the conditions of financing the railway infrastructure investment program. Pursuant to this arrangement, the concession fee was raised to 2 billion FCFA and a supplementary fee of 50% of the turnover of CAMRAIL was allocated to investment in railway infrastructure. It is planned within the framework of the concession agreement that a 350 million Euros investment shall be made to railway infrastructure over the concession period, with the State of Cameroon contributing roughly 199.07 million Euros and CAMRAIL contributing 150.93 million Euros. The railway infrastructure investment plan is expected to expand the railway network to permit the transport of aluminium from Edea to the Kribi port, the transportation of mineral resources from mining sites to ports, to connect Cameroon to the republics of Gabon and Congo (sub-regional integration), and then to develop interurban transport services. Infrastructure finance is also to be sourced from mining companies and lenders.

The legal framework of railway transport in Cameroon comprises principally the domestic legislation such as laws relating to railway safety, the decree relating to railway safety, the decree on the railway concession agreement between the State of Cameroon and Cameroon Railway (CAMRAIL), railway insurance law, etc. On the international plain, the leading legal framework comprises the following instruments: the Berne Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (1980), the CIM Uniform Rules concerning the Contract for International Carriage of Goods by Rail, and the CIV Uniform Rules concerning International Carriage of Passengers by Rail.
Dayspring Law Firm provides legal advisory services to operators in the railway sector, especially to users of the railway network.