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Baltimore Bridge Collapse

CMA CGM declares Force Majeure on Port of Baltimore shipments

Photo: USCG The M/V Dali is shown with the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 30, 2024, in Baltimore
The M/V Dali is shown with the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 30, 2024, in Baltimore.
CMA CGM has declared Force Majeure on shipments to and from the Port of Baltimore following the collapse of the Francis Scott Bridge after it was hit by the containership Dali.

With the Port of Baltimore closed until further notice following the tragic accident involving the Maersk-chartered Dali that left six dead, CMA CGM said it had determined a contingency plan complying with Clause 10 of its Bill of Lading terms and conditions.

CMA CGM said that exports currently stranded at the Port of Baltimore will remain there until the port re-opens the unless instructed by the shipper, and in the case of cargo rerouting to alternate load ports the costs are borne by the shipper. The French line is not accepting bookings from Baltimore until further notice, with Norfolk as the alternative load port where possible, and alternatively New York.

For import containers currently bound for Baltimore and on the water these will be discharged at “an alternative port” for pick-up where CMA CGM said its Bill of Lading would end.

Other major container lines issued similar notices on shipments to and from the Port of Baltimore but did not explicitly use the term Force Majeure.

Hapag-Lloyd said in a customer advisory that all containers bound for Baltimore would be re-routed to New York, and these could at request be moved by Hapag-Lloyd to Baltimore at the shippers’ cost. Containers awaiting shipment out of the Port the of Baltimore would remain there unless written notice is received from the shipper for an alternative load port at the cargo owner’s account.

An advisory from Maersk, the charterer of the Dali, said cargo on the water would be discharged at alternative US East Coast Ports with the voyage terminating there. “There will be an offer to customers on a case-by-case basis to cater for inland movements due to limited truck/rail capacity available,” Maersk said.

MSC is diverting services from Baltimore to New York and Newark, with some changes to be announced.

With a lengthy closure of the Port of Baltimore expected as salvage operations clear the wreckage of the bridge data and analytics company Russell Group has estimated that it could affect $8 billion worth of trade. This includes $1.49 billion of automobiles along with $377 million worth of coal exports that would be disrupted for the next six weeks, based on estimates of at least a six week closure.