A Glimpse on Carrier


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

  • 1. Common Carrier
  • 2. Gratuitous Carrier
  • 3. Private Carrier

1. Common 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.

2. Gratuitous Carrier

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.

3. Private Carrier


Where a person carries goods occasionally or by special agreement, he is know 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 private carrier. Where a private carrier accepts goods under individual contracts, he is called contract carrier.


Duties of Common Carrier


1. Acceptance for Carriage

He is bound to carry all goods offered to him for carriage by persons willing to pay his hire.



2. Deviation

A carrier must follow his customary route and must not deviate from it without cause.


3. 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.


4. 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.


5. Safely Transportation

He must carry the goods safely and deliver them safely to their destination, which may be stipulated in the agreement.


6. 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 


1. Right of Lien

Common carrier’s lien entitles a carrier to retain goods delivered for carriage until freight and storage charges are paid.


2. 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.


3. 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.


4. 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.


5. Right of Refusal

He can refuse to carry goods when:
  • a. There is no room for the goods in this conveyance.
  • b. The goods are not of the type that the carrier transports;
  • c. The goods are not properly packed;
  • d. The goods are of dangerous nature;
  • e. The consignor is not prepared to pay reasonable charges;
  • f. The carriage involves a rout on which he does not usually operate.



6. Right of Selling Goods

After giving notice to the consignee he may sell perishable goods.


7. 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.


8. Right of Limitation of Liability

Common carrier may also, by a special contract with consignor, limit his liability in any particular way.

 Liabilities of Common Carriers


1. Liability for Delay

The common carrier will be liable for any damage caused by its delay.


2. Liability for Delivery

The carrier will be liable for an erroneous delivery regardless of the reason for misdelivery.


3. 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:
  • a. An act of God.
  • b. Inherent vice in the goods themselves.
  • c. Acts of the enemies of the state.
  • d. The consignor’s own fault.
  • e. an acts of Public Authorities.



4. Liability for Injury

He is liable for injury to the passenger’s person only if guilty of negligence.


5. Liability for Scheduled Goods


Common carrier is not liable for loss or damage to specific kind of goods shown in the schedule such as gold, silver currency notes and precious stones etc, exceeding Rs. 100 in value, unless its value and description are properly disclosed to him before.

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