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How does the freight forwarder protect itself?

by:VIPUTRANS     2020-09-05
With the spread of the epidemic, shipping, port, logistics and other companies are facing more and more obvious legal risks and troubles under the impact of the global market. So, what are the hidden legal risks? How to effectively avoid prevention? The following questions summarized by the Ningbo Maritime Court are for your reference.





1. Does the carrier have the right to refuse to sail to ports affected by the epidemic?



Generally speaking, the closure of ports or the prohibition of agreed ships entering and leaving the port due to government control of the epidemic situation is a force majeure that results in the failure of the contract to be performed. If the contract has not been fulfilled, the carrier has the right to refuse to go to the loading port affected by the epidemic and terminate the contract; if the goods have been shipped on board, the carrier can negotiate with the shipper to change the unloading port or unload the goods to a safe place adjacent to the unloading port port.



2. The ship has arrived at the port, but cannot discharge the cargo due to various reasons. Can the carrier sail the ship to a nearby port with unloading conditions for unloading?



In the case that the unloading port lacks unloading conditions due to the impact of the epidemic, the carrier shall promptly notify the consignee of the lack of loading and unloading workers, professional loading and unloading equipment, and cargo collection trucks at the port, and change the unloading port, contact the loading and unloading personnel, and increase Negotiations on capacity and equipment.



If the negotiation fails, the carrier can unload the cargo to a nearby port with unloading conditions on the basis of taking into account the rights and interests of both parties. The contract shall be deemed to have been fulfilled, but the logbook, the proof that the agreed unloading port cannot be unloaded, and additional costs should be kept Evidence from other aspects.





4. Who will pay for the demurrage caused by unmanned delivery or delayed delivery at the destination port? Who will bear the loss of ship delay caused by overdue loading and unloading?



If the goods cannot be picked up in time due to the epidemic situation, it is recommended that the consignee or shipper apply to the shipping company to extend the free container days or reduce the free use. The demurrage fee arising from the inability to pick up the cargo, that is, the container overdue usage fee, should not exceed a reasonable upper limit, that is, the replacement price of a similar container is generally used as the upper limit for determining the reasonable loss of the container.



5. Affected by the epidemic, the risk of unmanned delivery of exported goods at the port of destination has increased. How should freight forwarders respond?



When no one picks up the goods within a certain period of time when the goods arrive at the port, the carrier generally requires the shipper to pay the demurrage and storage fees in the destination port. If the shipper fails to pay the corresponding fees in time, the freight forwarding company Usually advance payment first, and then recover from the shipper.



At present, under the influence of the epidemic, freight forwarders should actively and timely obtain information on the epidemic situation in the port of destination and corresponding policies after learning of the above costs, feed the information back to the shipper, and apply for fee reduction or exemption from the carrier; at the same time, assist and supervise The consignee and the carrier have direct contact and communication, prompting foreign buyers to apply for fee reduction or exemption from the relevant parties at the local port, and actively reduce losses.





5. Is the property loss caused by the epidemic covered by the shipowner’s liability insurance?



Shipowner’s liability insurance usually covers ship quarantine or disinfection risks caused by infectious disease outbreaks. However, it is generally not responsible for compensation for shipping loss, profit loss, demurrage, etc. caused by quarantine or disinfection of the ship, nor is it responsible for compensation for ship quarantine or Ship maintenance costs caused by disinfection. However, for additional costs or expenses caused by quarantine or disinfection, such as the costs of loading and unloading cargo, moving the ship's position, and fumigation as required by the port authorities, the shipowner can claim compensation from the insurance company.



It should be reminded that if the insured knows or ought to know that the ship will be quarantined or disinfected when calling at the port affected by the epidemic, the insurer can file a defense against the claim. In another situation, during the epidemic prevention and control period, the government may requisition ships in accordance with the law for epidemic prevention and control needs. In accordance with the general agreement in insurance contracts, the requisition of the ship is not a loss within the scope of insurance liability.



Therefore, if the ship is requisitioned, the requisitioning parties should make arrangements for ship insurance in a timely manner to avoid ship out of insurance or disputes.
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