• Delayed shipments


    The seller must advise the buyer of delayed shipment as soon as, for example, they become aware that a vessel may not load within the contracted period due to problems connected with the operations of the vessel itself such as a delay on the inbound voyage. The seller must also show, using independent documentary proof, that a late shipment is not their fault.

    If a problem of a much wider scope and of a more serious nature arises that prevents the seller, as well as other shippers, from shipping within the contracted period then, in addition to sending the notification of delayed shipment immediately this becomes evident, under certain circumstances the seller may be able to claim force majeure. Under ECF contracts the effect of both an advice of delayed shipment (or delivery) and an advice of force majeure (see 04.05.08) is initially to extend the period allowed for shipment. Cancellation of the contract follows if the problem continues after that period (although cancellation would be rather unusual). GCA on the other hand does not specify any extension and explicitly excludes events taking place before arrival of the goods at port of shipment.

    Experienced exporters know that quick and frank admission of shipping problems usually helps them to reach an amicable settlement with their buyers. Failure to ship is bad enough, but failure to keep buyers informed is even worse as it prevents them from making alternative arrangements in time.

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