Logistics companies and carriers are guided by international agreements when transporting goods, the most important of which is the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). This Convention contains a clearly defined limitation period, which is the same for both the consignor and the carrier.
The limitation period is 1 year, unless intentional acts are established, in which case the limitation period is 3 years.
Debt recovery from the carrier is possible if the carrier has improperly performed his work or has lost the goods. If the carrier partially loses, damages or delivers the goods to the consignee with delay, the limitation period starts to run from the date of damages suffered (loss, damage or delivery). In the case of total loss, the limitation period starts to run on the thirtieth day after the day on which delivery was due, or, in the absence of delivery term, 60 days after the day on which the goods were received from the consignor. In other cases, the limitation period starts to run 3 months after the signing of the carriage contract
Thus, under the Convention, the carrier is paid for the services rendered within 3 months and the limitation period starts to run from the signing of the contract for the provision of services. Both carriers and logistics companies must keep close track of unpaid invoices and remember to demand payment in writing from their debtors in order to avoid the expiry of the limitation period (which may be extended or renewed only in exceptional cases).
Once the limitation period has expired, it can be restored or renewed under certain conditions (if it has been missed for serious reasons). This is particularly the case where the service provider to whom the debt for the services rendered is owed has actively attempted to collect the debt and the debtor has delayed repayment by various means.
The Lithuanian case law recommends submitting a claim (in writing) to the debtor, clearly stating the claim, the damage caused and the amount of the damage, as well as the grounds for liability; the claim must be accompanied by documents supporting its validity. Such a claim will be particularly useful if debt recovery is brought before court.