DSp is the abbreviation for Allgemeine deutsche Spediteurbedingungen (General German Forwarders’ Terms and Conditions). The ADSp are general terms and conditions for forwarding transactions jointly developed and recommended for use by the major associations of the shipping industry and freight forwarders. In 2017, the ADSp have been renegotiated and harmonized. The ADSp have a long tradition and were first drafted in 1927 as a jointly created and applicable set of contract rules. These recommended ADSp are used by forwarding and logistics companies, but also by companies from industry and trade, for the handling of a wide range of forwarding transactions.

Basically, the regulations of the ADSp do not apply to contracts with private consumers (according to §13 BGB), but only to transport contracts between business people (B2B). Furthermore, the ADSp are limited to forwarding transactions in Germany – that means the transport starts and ends in Germany. For international forwarding transactions, the CMR can be used.

ADSp – recommended by federal associations

The ADSp were last revised again in 2017 and are currently available as ADSp 2017. These are now recommended by

    • Federation of German Industry (BDI)
    • Federal Association of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA)
    • German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (DSLV)
    • Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammertag (DIHK)
    • Main Association of German Retailers (HDE)


and since 2017 now also by

    • Federal Association of Road Haulage Logistics and Waste Disposal (BGL)
    • Federal Association of Business, Transport and Logistics (BWVL)
    • Federal Association of Furniture Transport and Logistics (AMÖ)

recommended as a contract regulation.

The application acceptance for the ADSp is currently more than 90 percent among German freight forwarders, which thus take advantage of uniform contract terms for freight forwarding activities, even if they work with many different business partners.

Purpose of the ADSp

Most freight forwarding transactions have similar and often recurring prerequisites and general conditions. Thus, just as often, similar agreements are negotiated and made again and again among business partners. Just as standards and norms have become established, for example, for loading equipment such as pallets or containers, this also applies to legal, contractual standards.

In Germany, a large number of freight forwarders, carriers and shippers handle freight forwarding activities. The ADSp simplify the arrangement of business relations. Since almost all partners apply the ADSp, all parties involved can refer to them and dispense with the time-consuming negotiation of contractual relationships with each new business partner.

Liability and ADSp

Furthermore, there is still a need to supplement the legal regulations, which alone do not apply precisely enough or inadequately to regular processes in the forwarding and transport business. The ADSp close this gap. The ADSp are of particular relevance whenever a transport does not proceed as planned or transport damage occurs. Depending on the context, many questions then arise, especially regarding liability. The previously made contractual agreement on the handling of the transport, taking into account the ADSp, creates an appropriate regulation for all parties involved in the forwarding business in such cases. The central questions are often who is liable for the damage, how the amount of the damage is to be quantified, whether consequential costs occur, whether the goods can and must be replaced or whether the goods are insured.