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COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS FOR TRANSPORTATION
ARTICLE 349. A contract of transportation by land or water ways of any kind s
hall be considered commercial:
1. When it has for its object merchandise or any article of commerce.
2. When, whatever its object may be, the carrier is a merchant or is habitual
ly engaged in transportation for the public.
ARTICLE 350. The shipper as well as the carrier of merchandise or goods may m
utually demand that a bill of lading be made, stating:
1. The name, surname and residence of the shipper.
2. The name, surname and residence of the carrier.
3. The name, surname and residence of the person to whom or to whose order th
e goods are to be sent or whether they are to be delivered to the bearer of said
4. The description of the goods, with a statement of their kind, of their wei
ght, and of the external marks or signs of the packages in which they are contai
5. The cost of transportation.
6. The date on which shipment is made.
7. The place of delivery to the carrier.
8. The place and the time at which delivery to the consignee shall be made.
9. The indemnity to be paid by the carrier in case of delay, if there should
be any agreement on this matter.
ARTICLE 351. In transportation made by railroads or other enterprises subject
to regulation rate and time schedules, it shall be sufficient for the bills of
lading or the declaration of shipment furnished by the shipper to refer, with re
spect to the cost, time and special conditions of the carriage, to the schedules
and regulations the application of which he requests; and if the shipper does n
ot determine the schedule, the carrier must apply the rate of those which appear
to be the lowest, with the conditions inherent thereto, always including a stat
ement or reference to in the bill of lading which he delivers to the shipper.
ARTICLE 352. The bills of lading, or tickets in cases of transportation of pa
ssengers, may be diverse, some for persons and others for baggage; but all of th
em shall bear the name of the carrier, the date of shipment, the points of depar
ture and arrival, the cost, and, with respect to the baggage, the number and wei
ght of the packages, with such other manifestations which may be considered nece
ssary for their easy identification.
ARTICLE 353. The legal evidence of the contract between the shipper and the c
arrier shall be the bills of lading, by the contents of which the disputes which
may arise regarding their execution and performance shall be decided, no except
ions being admissible other than those of falsity and material error in the draf
After the contract has been complied with, the bill of lading which the carrier
has issued shall be returned to him, and by virtue of the exchange of this title
with the thing transported, the respective obligations and actions shall be con
sidered cancelled, unless in the same act the claim which the parties may wish t
o reserve be reduced to writing, with the exception of that provided for in Arti
In case the consignee, upon receiving the goods, cannot return the bill of ladin
g subscribed by the carrier, because of its loss or of any other cause, he must
give the latter a receipt for the goods delivered, this receipt producing the sa
me effects as the return of the bill of lading.
ARTICLE 354. In the absence of a bill of lading, disputes shall be determined
by the legal proofs which the parties may present in support of their respectiv
e claims, according to the general provisions established in this Code for comme
ARTICLE 355. The responsibility of the carrier shall commence from the moment
he receives the merchandise, personally or through a person charged for the pur
pose, at the place indicated for receiving them.
ARTICLE 356. Carriers may refuse packages which appear unfit for transportati
on; and if the carriage is to be made by railway, and the shipment is insisted u
pon, the company shall transport them, being exempt from all responsibility if i
ts objections, is made to appear in the bill of lading.
ARTICLE 357. If by reason of well-founded suspicion of falsity in the declara
tion as to the contents of a package the carrier should decide to examine it, he
shall proceed with his investigation in the presence of witnesses, with the shi
pper or consignee in attendance.
If the shipper or consignee who has to be cited does not attend, the examination
shall be made before a notary, who shall prepare a memorandum of the result of
the investigation, for such purposes as may be proper.
If the declaration of the shipper should be true, the expense occasioned by the
examination and that of carefully repacking the packages shall be for the accoun
t of the carrier and in a contrary case for the account of the shipper.
ARTICLE 358. If there is no period fixed for the delivery of the goods the ca
rrier shall be bound to forward them in the first shipment of the same or simila
r goods which he may make point where he must deliver them; and should he not do
so, the damages caused by the delay should be for his account.
ARTICLE 359. If there is an agreement between the shipper and the carrier as
to the road over which the conveyance is to be made, the carrier may not change
the route, unless it be by reason of force majeure; and should he do so without
this cause, he shall be liable for all the losses which the goods he transports
may suffer from any other cause, beside paying the sum which may have been stipu
lated for such case.
When on account of said cause of force majeure, the carrier had to take another
route which produced an increase in transportation charges, he shall be reimburs
ed for such increase upon formal proof thereof.
ARTICLE 360. The shipper, without changing the place where the delivery is to
be made, may change the consignment of the goods which he delivered to the carr
ier, provided that at the time of ordering the change of consignee the bill of l
ading signed by the carrier, if one has been issued, be returned to him, in exch
ange for another wherein the novation of the contract appears.
The expenses which this change of consignment occasions shall be for the account
of the shipper.
ARTICLE 361. [The merchandise shall be transported at the risk and venture of
the shipper, if the contrary has not been expressly stipulated.
As a consequence, all the losses and deteriorations which the goods may suffer d
uring the transportation by reason of fortuitous event, force majeure, or the in
herent nature and defect of the goods, shall be for the account and risk of the
Proof of these accidents is incumbent upon the carrier.]
ARTICLE 362. Nevertheless, the carrier shall be liable for the losses and dam
ages resulting from the causes mentioned in the preceding article if it is prove
d, as against him, that they arose through his negligence or by reason of his ha
ving failed to take the precautions which usage has established among careful pe
rsons, unless the shipper has committed fraud in the bill of lading, representin
g the goods to be of a kind or quality different from what they really were.
If, notwithstanding the precautions referred to in this article, the goods trans
ported run the risk of being lost, on account of their nature or by reason of un
avoidable accident, there being no time for their owners to dispose of them, the
carrier may proceed to sell them, placing them for this purpose at the disposal
of the judicial authority or of the officials designated by special provisions.
ARTICLE 363. Outside of the cases mentioned in the second paragraph of Articl
e 361, the carrier shall be obliged to deliver the goods shipped in the same con
dition in which, according to the bill of lading, they were found at the time th
ey were received, without any damage or impairment, and failing to do so, to pay
the value which those not delivered may have at the point and at the time at wh
ich their delivery should have been made.
If those not delivered form part of the goods transported, the consignee may ref
use to receive the latter, when he proves that he cannot make use of them indepe
ndently of the others.
ARTICLE 364. If the effect of the damage referred to in Article 361 is merely
a diminution in the value of the goods, the obligation of the carrier shall be
reduced to the payment of the amount which, in the judgment of experts, constitu
tes such difference in value.
ARTICLE 365. If, in consequence of the damage, the goods are rendered useless
for sale and consumption for the purposes for which they are properly destined,
the consignee shall not be bound to receive them, and he may have them in the h
ands of the carrier, demanding of the latter their value at the current price on
If among the damaged goods there should be some pieces in good condition and wit
hout any defect, the foregoing provision shall be applicable with respect to tho
se damaged and the consignee shall receive those which are sound, this segregati
on to be made by distinct and separate pieces and without dividing a single obje
ct, unless the consignee proves the impossibility of conveniently making use of
them in this form.
The same rule shall be applied to merchandise in bales or packages, separating t
hose parcels which appear sound.
ARTICLE 366. Within the twenty-four hours following the receipt of the mercha
ndise, the claim against the carrier for damage or average be found therein upon
opening the packages, may be made, provided that the indications of the damage
or average which gives rise to the claim cannot be ascertained from the outside
part of such packages, in which case the claim shall be admitted only at the tim
e of receipt.
After the periods mentioned have elapsed, or the transportation charges have bee
n paid, no claim shall be admitted against the carrier with regard to the condit
ion in which the goods transported were delivered.
ARTICLE 367. If doubts and disputes should arise between the consignee and th
e carrier with respect to the condition of the goods transported at the time the
ir delivery to the former is made, the goods shall be examined by experts appoin
ted by the parties, and, in case of disagreement, by a third one appointed by th
e judicial authority, the results to be reduced to writing; and if the intereste
d parties should not agree with the expert opinion and they do not settle their
differences, the merchandise shall be deposited in a safe warehouse by order of
the judicial authority, and they shall exercise their rights in the manner that
may be proper.
ARTICLE 368. The carrier must deliver to the consignee, without any delay or
obstruction, the goods which he may have received, by the mere fact of being nam
ed in the bill of lading to receive them; and if he does not do so, he shall be
liable for the damages which may be caused thereby.
ARTICLE 369. If the consignee cannot be found at the residence indicated in t
he bill of lading, or if he refuses to pay the transportation charges and expens
es, or if he refuses to receive the goods, the municipal judge, where there is n
one of the first instance, shall provide for their deposit at the disposal of th
e shipper, this deposit producing all the effects of delivery without prejudice
to third parties with a better right.
ARTICLE 370. If a period has been fixed for the delivery of the goods, it mus
t be made within such time, and, for failure to do so, the carrier shall pay the
indemnity stipulated in the bill of lading, neither the shipper nor the consign
ee being entitled to anything else.
If no indemnity has been stipulated and the delay exceeds the time fixed in the
bill of lading, the carrier shall be liable for the damages which the delay may
ARTICLE 371. In case of delay through the fault of the carrier, referred to i
n the preceding articles, the consignee may leave the goods transported in the h
ands of the former, advising him thereof in writing before their arrival at the
point of destination.
When this abandonment takes place, the carrier shall pay the full value of the g
oods as if they had been lost or mislaid.
If the abandonment is not made, the indemnification for losses and damages by re
ason of the delay cannot exceed the current price which the goods transported wo
uld have had on the day and at the place in which they should have been delivere
d; this same rule is to be observed in all other cases in which this indemnity m
ay be due.
ARTICLE 372. The value of the goods which the carrier must pay in cases if lo
ss or misplacement shall be determined in accordance with that declared in the b
ill of lading, the shipper not being allowed to present proof that among the goo
ds declared therein there were articles of greater value and money.
Horses, vehicles, vessels, equipment and all other principal and accessory means
of transportation shall be especially bound in favor of the shipper, although w
ith respect to railroads said liability shall be subordinated to the provisions
of the laws of concession with respect to the property, and to what this Code es
tablished as to the manner and form of effecting seizures and attachments agains
t said companies.
ARTICLE 373. The carrier who makes the delivery of the merchandise to the con
signee by virtue of combined agreements or services with other carriers shall as
sume the obligations of those who preceded him in the conveyance, reserving his
right to proceed against the latter if he was not the party directly responsible
for the fault which gave rise to the claim of the shipper or consignee.
The carrier who makes the delivery shall likewise acquire all the actions and ri
ghts of those who preceded him in the conveyance.
The shipper and the consignee shall have an immediate right of action against th
e carrier who executed the transportation contract, or against the other carrier
s who may have received the goods transported without reservation.
However, the reservation made by the latter shall not relieve them from the resp
onsibilities which they may have incurred by their own acts.
ARTICLE 374. The consignees to whom the shipment was made may not defer the p
ayment of the expenses and transportation charges of the goods they receive afte
r the lapse of twenty-four hours following their delivery; and in case of delay
in this payment, the carrier may demand the judicial sale of the goods transport
ed in an amount necessary to cover the cost of transportation and the expenses i
ARTICLE 375. The goods transported shall be especially bound to answer for th
e cost of transportation and for the expenses and fees incurred for them during
their conveyance and until the moment of their delivery.
This special right shall prescribe eight days after the delivery has been made,
and once prescribed, the carrier shall have no other action than that correspond
ing to him as an ordinary creditor.
ARTICLE 376. The preference of the carrier to the payment of what is owed him
for the transportation and expenses of the goods delivered to the consignee sha
ll not be cut off by the bankruptcy of the latter, provided it is claimed within
the eight days mentioned in the preceding article.
ARTICLE 377. The carrier shall be liable for all the consequences which may a
rise from his failure to comply with the formalities prescribed by the laws and
regulations of the public administration, during the whole course of the trip an
d upon arrival at the point of destination, except when his failure arises from
having been led into error by falsehood on the part of the shipper in the declar
ation of the merchandise. If the carrier has acted by virtue of a formal order o
f the shipper or consignee of the merchandise, both shall become responsible.
ARTICLE 378. Agents for transportation shall be obliged to keep a special reg
istry, with the formalities required by Article 36, in which all the goods the t
ransportation of which is undertaken shall be entered in consecutive order of nu
mber and dates, with a statement of the circumstances required in Article 350 an
d others following for the respective bills of lading.
ARTICLE 379. The provisions contained in Articles 349 and following shall be
understood as equally applicable to those who, although they do not personally e
ffect the transportation of the merchandise, contract to do so through others, e
ither as contractors for a particular and definite operation, or as agents for t
ransportations and conveyances.
In either case they shall be subrogated in the place of the carriers themselves,
with respect to the obligations and responsibility of the latter, as well as wi
th regard to their rights.