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Coronavirus hits MSC’s reefer operations

Due to the effect of the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese ports are congested, which has resulted in a lack of available plugs for reefer containers, according to Swiss-based shipping line MSC.

The company said it cannot secure the discharge of reefer containers at the designated port if a power source is not available.

MSC's statement follows similar announcements from Maersk, APL and ONE, which also face serious challenges with reefer operations in China.

Consequently, at ports, where it is not possible to discharge some or all reefer containers MSC says it has no option but to apply clause 19 of our Bill of Lading and Sea Waybill Terms and Conditions. It means that reefer containers may be discharged at an intermediate or alternative port and held there until it is possible to forward them to the designated port of discharge.

If the situation remains unchanged it may be necessary to abandon the voyage, added MSC, without specifying at what point the voyage would be abandoned.

MSC notes that it is entitled to charge to the merchant additional freight and costs including but not limited to storage, demurrage and plugging.

"The delay to your cargo is beyond MSC’s control and for the avoidance of doubt MSC is not liable for loss or damage caused by the delay," MSC said.

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