International railroad cargo law passed

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

It was recently confirmed that North Korea has passed the International Railroad Cargo Law, Decree No. 2041 at the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on December 14, 2011. Under this law, foreign investors in the country are provided legal protection of civil rights and interests.

The Law consists of chapters on the fundamentals of the International Railway Cargo Law; planning and contracts for international railway cargo; and transporters of international railway cargo. According to the law, international railroad business will be placed under the jurisdiction of the “Central Railway Transport Guidance Agency,” and will be accountable for all freights of exports and imports going in and out of the country.

The law proclaimed, “There will be strict system and order in the international railway freight system to ensure smooth transports of goods.” Specifically, the international railroad freight plan, A national planning agency will establish annual plans by quarterly and deliver it to the “Central Railway Transport Guidance Agency,” and the agency will make detailed monthly reports and transfer that information to relevant institutions, enterprises, organizations who used the railroad.

The transport contract is to be made between the transporting company and the owner of the freight and it must bear product name and quantity of the cargo being shipped, departing and arriving border stations, sender and receiver of the cargo, conditions and period of transport. In the law, it also explains export or import of prohibited materials or items that may interfere with the international railway cargo will be strictly restricted.

The law also states, the transporter must notify the recipient of the cargo two hours before the cargo arrives at the final destination, and in case of, delay or loss of goods, compensation for damages must be provided. The amount of compensation cannot exceed the amount of all the goods combined. The cargo owners must pay the transporting company for the services and prices incurred for transporting cargos and wages for labor. The cost will be determined by the State Price Commission.

Violation of contract will allow transportation agencies to claim indemnity for the damages and must submit documents with amount and grounds for claim, documents for transporting goods, and filed accident report at the station by a fixed date and submit the dossier to the railway transport authorities. The railway transport agency must process the claim within three months from the date of report.

The law also provides details on sanctions and conflict resolution. If a delay occurs, the party that is responsible must pay compensation for delays or those that interfered with the normal transporting operation, the law provides for administrative and criminal liability to the responsible party. As for conflict resolution, any disputes should be resolved through negotiation, but for those cases that are not resolvable, it must be resolved through arbitration or by trial.

This law is considered as a measure in preparation to revitalize the railway projects with Russia and China.


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