Towards a Legal Model for Horizontal Cooperation in Logistics

Towards a Legal Model for Horizontal Cooperation in Logistics


Wouter Verheyen, ESL/KULEUVEN/Odisee UC


This paper presents the bottom-up design of legal models for three types of horizontal cooperation in logistics (cargo bundling, platooning networks and webshops-cooperation), which allow to reduce transaction costs and provide legal certainty.


Horizontal cooperation in logistics allows for efficiency gains for parties involved and with this it can reduce external effects of transport. Empirical research evidences that transaction costs and legal uncertainty as to the liability impact of cooperation are amongst the main obstacles to such cooperation. A dedicated legal framework can reduce transaction costs and eliminate such uncertainty. Such framework should provide rules on the type of cooperation, on the operation of the partnership and on the liability of the partners towards each other and towards third parties.
Rules on the type of cooperation include among others, provisions on the term of the partnership, entry requirements for new partners and exit requirements for existing partners. Operational rules include rules on daily management, distribution of costs and benefits and authority of individual partners towards third parties. Finally liability rules include provisions on liability for breach of contract (for example lack of compliance with cargo delivery times) and for damage to the property of partners and third parties.
In order for such framework effectively to reduce transaction costs, such framework should however as much as possible reflect the preferences of sector players. For this reason the purpose of this research is to design legal models for cooperation bottom up, taking the preferences of sector players as a starting point. The results of this survey with practitioners in all EU member states, are for every of the three envisaged types of cooperation (cargo bundling, platooning, e-commerce cooperation) put into an initial design for a model contract. These initial designs are first presented to a sample of respondents, open to amendments. The models will afterwards be amended to these amendments and the model is again presented to the sample. In this final empirical stage, the panel will however be confronted with the legal consequences of any of these clauses in case of a number of events.
After the design of these industry specific models, these models will eventually be abstracted into a general model for horizontal cooperation in logistics.


Association for European Transport