Ever Given Suez Canal Blockage – What does this mean for Cargo policyholders?

On Tuesday 23rd March the container ship Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal. The vessel, capable of carrying the equivalent of 20,000 twenty-foot containers and measuring nearly a quarter of a mile long, completely blocked one of the world’s busiest and most vital shipping lanes

According to the BBC, at the time that the Ever Given was moved from the Suez canal to Great Bitter Lake, an estimated GBP7bn worth of goods a day were being delayed, meaning significant disruption to global supply chains.

What does this mean for your clients with Cargo impacted by this incident?

It is of course impossible to provide an all-encompassing statement that embraces all variants of circumstance and policy wordings; however as most UK cargo policies will be based on the Institute Cargo Clauses, we can provide some general comments:

Is cover in force during any delay?

For any goods on board Ever Given or on vessels that had already commenced their journeys, the delay would be deemed to be within the ordinary course of transit and cover remains in force.  If for any reason the policyholder elects to change the original destination or opts to put goods into a place of temporary storage, you should contact your NMU Cargo specialist immediately to ensure continuity of cover.

Is there any cover for costs arising from the delay?

As with most property covers, under the terms of the Institute Cargo Clauses, the subject matter insured must have suffered physical loss or damage for a claim to be recoverable.

If a cargo owner suffers an inability to fulfil orders or loses trade due to a breakdown in the supply chain caused by the delay, there is no such physical loss or damage and it is therefore unlikely that there would be a recoverable claim.

There is also a specific exclusion within the Institute Cargo Clauses for any loss, damage or expense proximately caused by delay.

General Average declared

General Average has been declared and cargo owners who have goods on board the Ever Given may be asked to sign a General Average Guarantee.  Under the terms of the Institute Cargo Clauses, General Average contributions would usually be covered.

Contact Us

If any NMU Cargo policyholders are asked to sign a General Average guarantee, please contact the NMU claims department as soon as possible here.

Should you need further information or assistance, please contact your NMU Cargo Insurance specialist.


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