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Covid-19 impact on container shipping

Force Majeure Declarations due to COVID-19

The decision to declare Force Majeure requires clear evidence that events are out of the control of the carrier or third-party logistics services provider.

In late March CEVA Logistics and DHL Global Forwarding nonetheless surprised the international shipping community by declaring  Force Majeure, citing the impact  the COVID-19 global pandemic had on  their abilities to provide services and rates as they had contracted for with their customers.

In case an ocean carrier, air carriers, or a third-party logistics services provider declares Force Majeure the most immediate question  is whether that excuses parties from performing their obligations, or from doing so on time. The short answer is very likely NOT – as a declaration of Force Majeure does not automatically absolve a party from cancelling a service, but performance must truly be impossible – not just more expensive or more difficult.