Below are a disclaimer and claim response letters as an option for you to share with your legal counsel, and to implement at your organization.
DISCLAIMER FOR USE ON ALL MEMBER BOOKING QUOTATIONS*
“The COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment measures remain a fluid situation entirely outside of our control. We will continue to take all reasonable measures to mitigate impact to our customers' shipments. Nevertheless, certain service disruptions and/or delays may be unavoidable, for which we will not be liable and which may result in unforeseen extra costs or charges on the customer's account. We specifically reserve any and all rights to use alternative conveyances and routes and to accomplish carriage and delivery at any alternative place in the event of disruption. Please note that otherwise agreed customer schedules and rates may be subject to change and/or temporary surcharges may be applicable, subject to prior customer notice as circumstances may permit. To assist in mitigating any adverse impact and in recognition of restricted capacity under these unprecedented circumstances, we suggest all customers make their bookings with additional advance notice and that customers allow extra time.”
MEMBER RESPONSE LETTER TO A CLAIM FOR LOSS DUE TO DELAY*
“The service disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment measures include restricted capacities, facility and route closures and government operating restrictions. We adopted and continue to adopt all reasonable measures to mitigate disruptions to our customers. Unfortunately, certain service disruptions and delays are simply unavoidable. Because these unprecedented circumstances are entirely outside of control and comprise force majeure conditions, we must respectfully decline all liability claims arising therefrom in accordance with applicable contractual terms and/or governing law. In the event that you have cargo insurance applicable to the shipment, we suggest that you review your policy and/or consult with your insurance representative in order to verify potential coverage for any asserted losses.”
MEMBER RESPONSE TO SOMEONE CONTESTING EXTRA CHARGES *
“The service disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment measures are entirely outside of our control and comprise force majeure conditions. Extra costs and charges incurred as a result of these unprecedented circumstances are compensable by the customer in accordance with applicable contractual terms and/or governing law. In the event that you have cargo insurance applicable to the shipment, such extra charges incurred may be subject to coverage and we suggest that you review your policy and/or consult with your insurance representative in order to verify. In any event, the costs and charges must be promptly paid as set forth and we reserve the right to withhold delivery of any pending shipments under assertion of lien for the costs and charges in accordance with contractual terms and/or governing law.”
*The above wordings are written in general terms so they may be used by multiple modes of transit in various jurisdictions. However, it is impossible to predict every scenario and the language might not always be appropriate for every scenario. Further, the ability to defend on and/or apply "force majeure" depends upon the exact factual circumstances, what mitigating actions were taken by the logistics provider, the mode of transport and applicable law, the forum for dispute resolution, etc. Legal counsel review and counsel should be sought for the specific scenario(s) in question.
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