Definition of ‘Receiver’

Posted: 29/10/2019

By: Institute for Mobility and Transport - Portugal

We are looking for clarification regarding the definition of receiver in the 2010 HNS Convention for a specific type of situation as explained below.


Company (A) operates factory facilities in Portugal and purchases bulk HNS from a seller/provider (B) which is located in another country. The bulk HNS arrives after sea transportation in Portugal.

The purchase is DDP (Delivered Duty Paid – INCOTERM agreement). This means that the shipper/seller (B) is responsible for dealing with all the tasks involved in moving goods from the manufacturing plant to the buyer’s door.

The company (A) does not, therefore, intervene in the transportation of the bulk HNS to their factory facilities.

The seller/provider (B)  is using a freight forwarder (C) in Portugal to act on its behalf to transport the bulk HNS to the factory of the company (A).


Who is the receiver as defined in article 1, paragraph 4 (a) of the HNS Convention? A, B or C?



The 2010 HNS Convention, in its article 1.4(a), defines the receiver based on factors that are conditional on one another:

  1. The receiver is normally the person who physically receives contributing cargo in a State Party after sea transport. In this example, it should be the freight forwarder (C).
  2. However, if this physical receiver acts as an agent (the freight forwarder (C) in your example) for another company (the principal/final receiver, company (A) in your example), then it will be that company that will be considered to be the receiver, only if the following conditions are met:
  • The principal (A) must be subject to the jurisdiction of a State Party. If not, the agent (C) will be considered to be the receiver.
  • The agent (C) must disclose the identity of the principal (A) to the HNS Fund, in order for the Fund to be able to obtain payment of contributions from that company. In the absence of such a disclosure declaration, the agent (C) will be considered to be the receiver.

In your example, the freight forwarder (C) is the agent and the company (A) is the principal. Since the company (A) is theoretically in a State Party (Portugal) and assuming that the agent (C) would declare the company (A) as the principal to the HNS Fund, then (A) would be the receiver as per the Convention.

For completeness, it must be mentioned that as per article 1.4(b), a State Party can have a different definition of receiver as per its own national law, provided that the total contributing cargo received in that State remains substantially the same as what would have been received under 1.4(a).