Iraq: Delays at Iraqi ports

Port news

Published: 7 July 2014

The situation

Members will be aware of the developing conflict situation in Iraq.

At present there are no reports of any fighting near or close to any major Iraqi ports, although the areas immediately outside port limits suffer from security issues.

There are now reports of increasing delays for cargo discharge operations, particularly with respect to grain and project cargoes arriving in Iraq.

The reason for these delays include decreasing night time cargo operation activity, as trucks coming to the port may be at greater risk during night time hours. This leads to consignees preferring to only undertake cargo operations during daylight hours with consequent impacts on the length of overall operations until completion.

Loss prevention advice

Members are cautioned to exercise prudent security steps whenever calling at any port in a country with ongoing conflict or social unrest. This prudent approach should be taken whether or not the ISPS level has been raised to 2 or 3 for a country or a port. Decisions on shore leave and / or going ashore inside port limits should always be taken with the prevailing local security situation in mind. It is always best to err on the side of caution in case of any doubt or concern.

With respect to potential delays, members are reminded to consider the local situation of both load and discharge ports during their fixture negotiations so that terms and clauses can be agreed which suitably apportion risk between parties. In any event, to avoid disputes later, it is best to clearly define terms relating to time under both time / period and voyage charterparties.

Should members have vessels calling at Iraq, then it would be useful to review terms relevant to the following:

  1. hire / off hire provisions
  2. freight payment provisions
  3. NOR requirements
  4. laytime and demurrage provisions
  5. delay and detention provisions
  6. so called "Force Majeure" provisions
  7. deviation and liberty clauses

Members may also wish to have reference to the Association's previous advices on laytime issues.

Should members have further queries, they are asked to contact the Association.

The Association is grateful to Messrs. Mutual Marine Services - al Mushtaraka LLC for their assistance with this update.