After coming into effect these changes are bound to reflect on different stakeholders in the maritime business. With an increase in business activities, all around the globe, the sea route has become very busy and active, thus generating more demand for regulations and expertise in Maritime law.
Container and shipping industry is capital intensive business and requires huge amount of investment to start the business. Safety and environmental concerns obviously result in high levels of regulations for the industry. It took well over seven years for the U.N. Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and its Working Group III on Transport Law, to deliberate on the nuances of the new legislation for the shipping industry. Subsequently the Comit Maritime International (CMI) took another four years of preparatory work to pave the way for the United Nations to adopt the 'Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea' in December 2008 meeting (Sturley, 2009). The Rotterdam convention is bound to have an impact on different stakeholders in the maritime business in varying measures, depending upon a number of factors. The Cargo owners are certainly an important part in this business. With projections of the global marine industry to be worth $924.5 billion by the year 2013, registering an increase of 23.4 percent since 2008, the Rotterdam rules are bound to play a crucial role in the marine industry (Datamonitor, 2009).
Futuristic projections say that the global marine industry is bound to witness a volume of about 21.7 in the year 2013, which makes the role of cargo owners all the more crucial. In fact Rotterdam rules are seen the first serious attempt to replace the age old maritime rules with a new set of modernistic guidelines to make the maritime business more attractive and less speculative. With trade volumes increasing as we move along in the 21st century, the global marine trade has been growing at a rapid pace. Research reports indicate that the rate of growth between 2004 and 2006 had been quite attractive, but subsequent years saw decline owing to the prevalence of all round recessionary trends. Though the recession is far from over yet, but the industry is witnessing higher volume of trade in the recent months.
Rotterdam has got the honours of hosting the UN Convention because of its being one of largest ports around the world. In fact, the traditional competition for the best and largest has been between Rotterdam and Singapore. But, the phenomenal rise of China in global trade has made Shanghai as a tough competitor for being the number one port in terms of cargo handling. More movement of goods and services due to the trend amongst the MNCs to manufacture products in countries like China and then transport it back to the western world or Europe, implies greater opportunity for the shipping industry. As per the United Nation estimates, the shipping industry was able to move 8 billion tons of cargo in 2007. This amounts to about 80 percent of the volume of world trade. Oil comprised of the main cargo shipment followed closely by iron ore and coal (UN, 2009). The cargo owners have therefore a big role in carrying forward the globalisation and liberalisation regime. Rotterdam rules have brought about a series of changes in the existing framework while making provisions for emerging situations in the increased transportation of the goods around the world.