Ports in India have declared force majeure as the country begins a three week lockdown in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic.
According to reports, almost half a dozen ports have declared force majeure, a legal certificate that waives contractual obligations in exceptional circumstances.
The ports of Krishnapatnam, Dhamra, Mundra, Tuna, Gopalpur, Karaikal and Gangavaram have all reportedly taken the action in.
In doing so, India follows the example of China, where the outbreak began in late last year, which offered the certificate in January 2020 when port congestion forced severe export and import delays, a story Port Technology International (PTI) reported on.
India’s lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March and will affect all 1.3 billion of its citizens.
In February, PTI reported that thousands of containers from China were stuck in Indian ports due to unsigned documents from exporters based in areas badly affected by COVID-19.
The country is the third biggest economy in Asia and is situated on one of the most valuable shipping lanes in the world. It is spending heavily on its maritime sector and recently announced plans to build a new mega-port.