MSC the World’s Largest Container Ship Company Shifts Diverted Cargo Crisis onto U.S. Businesses

MSC, the largest ocean carrier globally, has decided to implement a policy change in response to the recent container ship accident near the Port of Baltimore, resulting in a tragic bridge collapse.

Due to the indefinite closure of the Baltimore port, MSC, like other carriers, will no longer deliver diverted containers outside of the port for shipping clients. This decision places the responsibility of cargo pickup at a diverted port and transportation to its final destination squarely on the shipper.

In an email shared with CNBC on Thursday, MSC informed its customers that for containers already en route to the Port of Baltimore, the cargo will be rerouted and discharged at an alternate port, where it will be available for pickup.

MSC the World’s Largest Container Ship Company Shifts Diverted Cargo Crisis onto U.S. Businesses
Maersk commits to providing transport from diverted ports amidst industry-wide challenges.

The advisory from MSC stated, “For these shipments, the contract of carriage will be terminated at the alternate port, and any storage, D&Ds, and on-carriage costs to the originally intended destination will be the sole responsibility of the cargo owner.”

Additionally, MSC clarified that passage to and from Baltimore is currently unfeasible and is not expected to be reinstated for several weeks, if not months.

CMA CGM, COSCO, and Evergreen were among the first carriers to announce similar measures, with some even formally declaring “force majeure,” a legal term that grants the right to waive contract duties when uncontrollable events occur.

MSC the World’s Largest Container Ship Company Shifts Diverted Cargo Crisis onto U.S. Businesses
Financial and operational hurdles persist for ocean carriers following pandemic-induced profit surge and subsequent disruptions.

In its communication with customers, MSC expressed regret for the disruption caused by this contingency plan, emphasizing that it is necessary in response to circumstances beyond its control and per the terms of the contract of carriage.

However, MSC did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

On the other hand, Maersk stands out as the only major carrier committing to provide transport from diverted ports for its customers.

Notably, Maersk chartered the Dali, a containership with a capacity of 10,000 containers, which lost control and collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the early hours of Tuesday.

Following the pandemic-induced surge that resulted in historic profits, ocean carriers have faced a period of financial and operational challenges.

Factors such as vessel overcapacity, declining earnings, and disruptions like the Red Sea Houthi attacks and the Panama Canal drought have led to costly diversions from major global trade routes.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x