Law of Ukraine No. 1887-IX of November 17, 2021 “On Multimodal Transport” (hereinafter – Law No. 1887) entered into force on December 19, 2021.


The new Law makes it possible to use different types of transport as conveniently and profitably as possible to provide transportation services within the same contract. But to do this, it is necessary that the Cabinet of Ministers approve a single transportation document.


According to Law No. 1887, one carrier (or logistics company) can organize cargo transportation using two or more modes of transport on a door-to-door basis, under one contract and a single transport document both at the interstate and regional levels.


The Law was adopted to implement the provisions of the EU Council Directive of December 07, 1992 on the establishment of common rules for certain types of combined transport of goods between member states.


What is multimodal transportation?


Multimodal transportation is the transportation of goods by two or more modes of transport based on a multimodal transportation contract, which is carried out under a multimodal transportation document.


How is multimodal transportation organized?


The organization of multimodal transportation, relations between participants in multimodal transportation, as well as their rights, obligations and responsibilities are determined by the contract of multimodal transportation and other contracts concluded according to the legislation of Ukraine.


The contract for the provision of multimodal transportation services is bilateral. It is concluded between the customer of transportation and the operator of transportation. At the same time, transportation involves the use of two or more modes of transport for the transportation of the ordered cargo, and the organization of such transportation and the search for carriers (including the conclusion of contracts with them) is assumed by the operator.


New terms:

  • multimodal transportation operator is a business entity that enters into a contract of multimodal transportation, accepts cargo under its own responsibility for the duration of transportation, draws up a document of multimodal transportation and carries out or ensures the transportation of cargo to its destination;
  • multimodal transportation service is organization and provision of multimodal transportation under a multimodal transportation contract.


Other participants in multimodal transportation, in particular, other actual carriers (road transport, railway, sea transportation, etc.) or multimodal terminals will enter into separate contracts with the operator (Article 4 of Law No. 1887).


Multimodal terminal is a production and transshipment complex of any form of ownership, which is used during multimodal transportation to change modes of transport, perform operations of loading, unloading, storing cargo, etc., and during international transportation can also be a checkpoint (control point) across the state border of Ukraine.


Multimodal terminals can be located on the territory of railway stations, airports, sea and river ports and are not included in the borders of checkpoints (control points) across the state border of Ukraine. In multimodal terminals, customs control zones can be created for customs formalities for customs control and customs clearance, and during international multimodal transportation – customs warehouses, temporary storage warehouses and cargo customs complexes.


The possibility of organizing multimodal transportation applies, among other things, to:


 Requirements for a multimodal transportation contract.


The multimodal transportation contract is concluded in writing and is bilateral (between the operator of multimodal transportation and the customer of transportation services).


Text of such an agreement (Article 10 of Law No. 1887) must contain the following essential conditions, in particular:

  • subject of the contract: the multimodal transportation operator undertakes to provide a multimodal transportation service for a fee and at the expense of the customer, including withinvolvement of other participants in cargo transportation in the provision of the multimodal transport service,
  • rights and obligations of the parties;
  • contract price – multimodal cargo transportation can be carried out at a single (end-to-end) tariff or at contractual prices (Article 12 of Law No. 1887);
  • term of validity of the agreement and separately – the term(s) of execution of the agreement;
  • type and name of cargo;
  • modes of transport to be used and the route of multimodal transportation, indicating the multimodal terminals where the change of modes of transport is carried out;
  • points of departure and destination of cargo;
  • liability of the parties for improper performance by the parties of the terms of the agreement.


Combined cargo transportation


By definition of Law No. 1887, combined cargo transportation is multimodal cargo transportation by the same transport unit without overloading cargo when changing the mode of transport, where most of the route falls on sea, river or rail transport, and the route segment by road is as short as possible.

Note that the transport unit and mode of transport are different things in this case.


According to this Law, a transport unit is a container, removable body, trailer, semi-trailer, as well as a truck or railway car, provided that they are transported (followed) by other modes of transport with no overloading of cargo.


Combined transportation is a special method of transportation, which can be a component of a modal transportation contract or a separate contract concluded taking into account the requirements of the new Law No. 1887 we have commented on and the current norms of theCivil Code of UkraineEconomic Code of UkraineMerchant Shipping Code of UkraineCustoms Code of Ukraine, Laws “On the Transport”“On the Railway Transport”“On the Road Transport”“On the Cargo Transit”“On the Foreign Economic Activity”“On the Freight Forwarding Activities”, etc.


Law No. 1887 does not cancel ordinary transportation contracts that were concluded earlier. The old legal relations will continue to operate.


A contract on the terms of combined cargo transportation (Article 7 of Law No. 1887) is concluded when it comes to:


1) cargo transportation

  • by truck, trailer, semi-trailer, with or without tractor,
  • a removable body or container that has the appropriate marking according to international standards,
  • by road on the initial and final segments of the multimodal transport route, and by rail,
  • inland water or sea routes, provided that the sea distance is more than 100 kilometres of a straight line, on another segment of the multimodal transportation route,

and also if: 

2) in the case of combined cargo transportation, the initial and/or final segment of the route is transportation:

  • between the loading point of goods and the nearest corresponding loading station of the railway for the initial segment of the route and between the nearest corresponding unloading station of the railway and the point where goods are unloaded for the final segment of the route, or
  • within a maximum radius of 150 kilometres from the river or seaport (terminal) of loading or unloading.


If the above conditions are not met, the contract on the terms of combined transportation is not concluded.


An important point is features of the driver’s work and rest regime (Part 6, Article 7 of Law No. 1887).


In combined transport, the specifics of drivers’ work are determined according to the European Agreement on the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport, the Labour Code and regulatory legal acts in the field of road, rail, sea and inland water transport.


Therefore, the specifics of the drivers’ work schedule and their payment may also be part of the transportation contract, or general conditions may be spelled out with reference to regulations that determine the specifics of drivers’ work in this type of transportation.


How will multimodal transportation operations be subject to VAT?


When entering into transportation contracts, when it comes to international transportation, taxpayers have the right to use the zero VAT rate.


According to paragraph “a”, clause 195.1.3 of the TCU, transactions involving the supply of such services as, in particular, international transportation of passengers and baggage and cargo by rail, road, sea, river and air transport shall be taxed at a zero rate. For the purposes of this subparagraph, transportation shall be considered international if such transportation is carried out under the single international transportation document.


This will also be possible for international multimodal cargo transportation. According to Article 11 of Law No. 1887, when performing international multimodal cargo transportation, multimodal transport operators shall use a single transportation document on a segment of the route that runs through the territory of Ukraine, as well as in international traffic, if this is provided for by international treaties of Ukraine.


The multimodal cargo transportation document must contain information about:

  • multimodal transportation operator and customer of multimodal transportation services;
  • name, type, quantity and gross weight of the cargo;
  • modes of transport to be used and the route of multimodal transportation, indicating the multimodal terminals where the change of modes of transport is carried out;
  • points of departure and destination of cargo;
  • the cargo recipient.


The form of such a document must be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.


To apply a zero rate in international transportation, an international document must be applied (today it is, in particular, CMR, Air Waybill, Bill of Lading, etc.). The corresponding list of goods and transportation documents drawn up in the language of international communication, depending on the chosen mode of transport or in the state language, if the goods are transported in Ukraine, accompanying the transportation of goods is given in Article 9 of Law No. 1955-IV of July 01, 2004 “On the Freight Forwarding Activities”.


They do not plan to abandon them. After all, when carrying out international multimodal cargo transportation, operators and actual carriers use commodity transportation documents stipulated by international treaties of Ukraine as a transportation document. At the same time, the Agreement on the Development of Multimodal Transportation TRACECA provides that the parties, through TRACECA structures, shall develop and approve a single form of multimodal transportation document.


Today, the question of which transportation document will be issued for domestic multimodal transportation, and which – for international transportation, is open. The answer to this question should be provided by the Cabinet of Ministers.


Responsibility of the multimodal transportation operator and customer


The operator is responsible for the actions and inaction of the actual carrier, owners/users of multimodal terminals from the moment of acceptance of the cargo for the duration of transportation up to the moment of delivery of cargo to the recipient.


For non-performance or improper performance of the obligations stipulated in the multimodal transportation contract and Law No. 1887, both parties, the operator and the customer of the multimodal transport service, shall be liable according to the Civil Code of UkraineCustoms Code of Ukraine, other laws and a multimodal transportation contract (Parts 1, 2 of Article 19 of Law No. 1887).


According to Part 2, Article 924 of the Civil Code, the carrier shall be liable for the loss, shortage, damage or damage to cargo, baggage, and mail accepted for carriage in the amount of actual damage, unless it proves that it was not its fault.


“Old” norms of the Civil Code of Ukraine or Economic Code of Ukraine do not define the limits of liability of the actual carrier.


According to Law No. 1887, the maximum limit of the operator’s liability is proposed to be determined by calculation and provided that it cannot exceed the maximum limit of the actual carrier’s liability to the operator, except in cases where the maximum limit of the operator’s liability under the terms of a multimodal transportation contract is determined by the declared value of the cargo (Part 3, Article 20 of Law No. 1887).


Therefore, when entering into a contract with the actual carrier, you should clearly indicate what this amount will be equal to or how it will be considered.


The multimodal transportation customer should also take into account this important condition – the responsibility of the operator (also taking into account the requirements of Law No. 1887).


Other regulatory acts have been brought into compliance.


Relevant changes regarding the specifics of concluding multimodal transport contracts and the operation of multimodal terminals have been made to Article 312 of the Economic Code of UkraineArticle 913 of the Civil Code of UkraineArticle 11 of the Law “On the Transport”Article 8 of the Law “On the Railway Transport”.


Changes have also been made to Articles 141654 of the Law “On Mandatory Civil Liability Insurance of Land Vehicle Owners”.


It is prohibited to conclude contracts of compulsory civil liability insurance in places of registration (re-registration) of vehicles and registration of permits, in places of monitoring the availability of insurance policies, except for checkpoints across the state border of Ukraine, and multimodal terminals.


For international multimodal cargo transportation by vehicles involving railway transport, the existence of a valid green card international insurance contract is checked at multimodal terminals before starting railway transportation.