Monday, December 13, 2010

Force Majeure Declared As Exports And Freight Deliveries Halted By Global Weather

Extreme Conditions Force Changes to Shippers Itineraries
Shipping News Feature

WORLD WIDE – After suspending truck drivers’ hours of service in Scotland due to heavy snowfalls in the past weeks comes news of unseasonal weather elsewhere affecting the logistics sector across the globe. One of the worst hit areas is Queensland where continuous rain has caused major disruptions, particularly to coal deliveries as rail operator QR National has just reinstated rail freight services between the mines and the export terminals at Hay Point .

The extreme conditions have meant that several mines have issued notice of force majeure meaning that forces beyond their control may cause them unable to fulfil their contracts and upward of thirty vessels are believed to be waiting off the coast for loading. Despite the reintroduction of services QR have put speed restrictions in place as a safety measure.

Also in Queensland cotton farmers are facing up to the loss of millions of dollars as this years crop is devastated by floods. Rivers have risen several metres and inundated thousands of hectares of farmland.

In the US and Canada up to 60 centimetres of snow has fallen in the past few days bringing deliveries to a standstill in many area and, most shocking of all, areas of the Middle East have witnessed snowfalls and storm conditions which caused the closure of the ports of Tartous in Syria and Alexandria and Nuweiba in Egypt.

The storm swept through the Mediterranean killing several people in Egypt and Lebanon and sinking a Moldovan registered dry bulk carrier off Ashdod. The MV Adriatic was carrying iron ore, her eleven man Ukrainian crew being rescued by a Panamanian freighter. At least one other vessel needed assistance in the area as waves, reportedly up to ten metres, battered the coastline wreaking havoc in harbours in Lebanon and Israel.

The entire region has been suffering drought conditions for several months causing the recent devastating fire in Israel and, whilst sandstorms continued to sweep parts of Egypt and Jordan yesterday Lebanese truck drivers battled frozen roads. Several vessels were refused access to the Suez Canal during the worst of the weather which seems to be clearing in most areas today.

Photo Image courtesy of NASA.