The World Shipping Council partnered with shipper interests in 2001, to develop a proposal that was endorsed by both shippers and carriers for governments to consider. On September 27, 2001, the World Shipping Council and the National Industrial Transportation League (NIT League) announced that they agreed on international cargo liability reform.
Both organizations then began working with the U.S. government to achieve this reform through a new international instrument being negotiated by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The World Shipping Council participated on the U.S. delegation to UNCITRAL throughout the negotiations.
On July 3, 2008, the full UNCITRAL adopted the new cargo liability convention, entitled the Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, and later named the "Rotterdam Rules." The convention was formally adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in December 2008 and it was opened for signature by member nations in Rotterdam in September 2009. It will enter into force after ratification by 20 countries.
The new Rotterdam Rules convention contains most of the elements included in the agreement WSC entered into with the NIT League at the beginning of the UNCITRAL process. This carrier-shipper alliance was extremely effective in helping shape the key issues during the negotiation.
On May 29, 2009, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), representing businesses all over the world, issued a statement of support for the new convention and has asked governments to consider ratification based on a set of objectives important to international business.