Freight forwarders declare ‘Force Majeure’

DHL Global Forwarding and Ceva Logistics have declared ‘force majeure’, temporarily relieving the companies of their normal contractual obligations if the inability to perform is caused by consequences of the coronavirus.

DHL Global Forwarding was the first major freight forwarder to invoke it. “With almost all elements of the air and ocean supply chain on certain trade lanes currently being impossible to predict or control, DHL Global Forwarding decided to declare Force Majeure and to reserve the right to modify its services to the prevailing circumstances consequent to the virus”, spokesperson David Stöppler of DHL told PCJ. 

He added that in this “unprecedented situation”, DHL Global Forwarding continues to provide extensive transport services and is tirelessly working to keep supply chains up and running.

Ceva Logistics, owned by container carrier CMA CGM, has now followed suit. In a statement, the company explains that the coronavirus is disrupting all aspects of normal business while at the same time, many governments are imposing stringent prevention and protection measures, creating difficulties in supply chains.

“The Covid-19 virus and the necessary response measures being taken by governments are entirely
outside the control of Ceva Logistics. As they were unforeseeable, they fall within the definition of
‘Force Majeure’ – the principles of which are universally recognized in business, and enshrined in law”, the company explains in a statement.

Having declared Force Majeure, Ceva Logistics says its reserves the right to modify its services and change working procedures, change previously agreed rates and prices and levy surcharges. It affects all Ceva’s services, including Air Freight, Ocean Freight, Ground Freight, Rail, Customs brokerage and Contract Logistics services.

The company assures its customers that “this step has only been taken due to the exceptional circumstances in which Ceva Logistics is currently operating.”

Supply chain disruptions

Freight forwarders are struggling to reach certain areas around the globe as governments have imposed national restrictions and ocean carriers and airlines have significantly reduced capacity. Many shipping companies have cancelled sailings and ports hinder the movement of crew. In addition, some governments have locked down certain areas and even entire countries in attempts to contain the virus.

In a notice to its customers, Blue Water Shipping, which has not yet declared Force Majeure, says it is experiencing incredible difficulties to transport cargo to destinations such as France, Spain, Europe, Italy and India, with some companies refusing or not being capable to receive any goods. The company is trying to work around certain blockades by moving cargo to rail or making use of air charter services.

Author: Tobias Pieffers

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