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Simone Lamont-Black

Our modern world relies on trade and the prosperity it brings. Therefore well-functioning freight forwarding services are of vital importance to all members of society. Transparency and predictability of legal frameworks are generally considered to be ideals, but are they achievable for the business of freight forwarding? Are they even on the horizon? Moreover, how might they become reality? This chapter shows the need for a solution by firstly illustrating the legal pitfalls and lacunae encountered when attempting to determine the legal rules applicable to a freight forwarding transaction; and particularly so when transport, in line with environmental policies, is conducted by more than one mode. Secondly, it reviews the reports considering reform, the previous harmonisation attempts and reform proposals in order to identify the scope for possible avenues to improve the state of play. It is argued that a better way forward is a ‘light touch’ Model Law, removing key obstacles and a reorientation away from the paradigm of top down government-led international regulation towards empowering the sector to contribute industry negotiated solutions for implementation via a Model Law. Such a framework would result in an increase of transparency and predictability.