EVER GIVEN – One Year Later

TheEVER GIVEN shipping accident in the Suez Canal has far-reaching consequences for supply chains.

Not only are all the companies whose goods were in the 18,000 containers of the EVER GIVEN affected, but also those whose goods were transported by the 400 cargo ships that reached their destination only after a considerable delay due to the traffic jam.

The container ship MS EVER GIVEN ran aground in the Suez Canal a year ago. The delays in delivery caused by the accident are still noticeable today – and are also shaking up the insurance market.

This picture went around the world on 23 March 2021: The stranded giant freighter MS EVER GIVEN – with a length of almost 400 metres and a width of 60 metres, one of the largest container ships in the world – lies transversely in the Suez Canal, blocking one of the most important trade routes. Fully packed cargo ships are jammed in front of the canal entrance and forced to wait seven days to continue their journey.

The shipping accident in the Suez Canal has far-reaching consequences for supply chains. Not only are all the companies whose goods were in the 18,000 containers of the EVER GIVEN affected, but also those whose goods were transported by the 400 cargo ships that reached their destination only after a considerable delay due to the traffic jam. Ultimately, this also pushes transport insurance to its limits.

High-risk transport

On the busy sea route between Asia and Europe, cargo ships are usually loaded to their maximum capacity, which poses a safety risk for the crew and the cargo, especially in bad weather. For example, crosswinds can cause very large container ships like the EVER GIVEN to run aground on a sandbank in a narrow waterway. The ever-increasing size of cargo ships also increases the risk and makes salvage operations more difficult in the event of an accident.

Supply chain mess

Even before the blockade of the Suez Canal, industries were struggling with supply bottlenecks. Incidents like that of the EVER GIVEN are the last straw. There are dramatic interruptions in the supply chain or even a production standstill but any case delays. In Europe, the automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical industries were particularly affected by the Suez Canal disaster, as were large discount retailers that source their goods from Asia.

Transport insurance and its limits

In the area of classic goods transport insurance, damage, as well as additional costs incurred for goods that are directly on the affected means of transport, can be insured to a large extent. This also includes the so-called general average, which exists when the captain arranges for extraordinary expenses to be incurred to rescue the vessel from an immediate and common peril, such as the sea throwing of goods, the flooding of holds in the event of a fire, or tugging and dredging operations, as in the case of EVER GIVEN.

Especially in the case of general average, the insurance cover enables the goods on the damaged vessel to be released. Those who are not insured have to pay themselves – a not inconsiderable cost risk. In the case of the EVER GIVEN, claims payments in the high three-digit millions were made by the insurers and reinsurers.

The situation is different for goods on ships that are only indirectly affected by the time delay. The mere delay of the voyage does not trigger a claim under conventional transport insurance policies, and this is precisely what is now bringing a new insurance company onto the scene.

New insurance for trade disruption and its limits

To provide a solution for indirect risks such as travel delays, a so-called “Trade Disruption Insurance” (TDI) has been developed on the London market. Unlike traditional business interruption insurance, this parametric solution covers those costs, expenses and lost profits that result from events that do not cause physical damage.

To stay with the specific case of the shipping accident, the blockage of waterways can be chosen as the coverage trigger. If the insured event occurs, payment of the agreed limit (less the deductible taken) is made. In this way, losses caused by delays or non-arrival of goods can also be covered.

The new TDI insurance is designed for major loss scenarios and can be customised. It can also be extended, for example, to cover loss of earnings, contractual penalties, liquidated damages or other costs and expenses such as additional financing costs. It thus offers a comprehensive solution for a complex risk that is becoming ever higher due to global development.


This article is a part of our latest Spotlight publication focusing on supply chain issues. Read the publication and learn more about how you can protect your business from changes and unpredictable supply chain disruptions.

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War in Ukraine: Cargo insurance and political risks

The dangers of war and strike are excluded in the “all risks” coverage, but they are usually included in the individual policies with additional clauses.

Trading companies and manufacturers of goods have their deliveries insured in a global transport insurance policy based on turnover. The scope of coverage is usually “all risks” according to the Institute Cargo Clauses or similar wordings.

The current situation in Ukraine is classified as war since Russia has occupied Ukrainian territory with a regular army.

Insurance in case of war and strike

Basically, the dangers of war and strike are excluded in the “all risks” coverage, but they are usually included in the individual policies with additional clauses. This extension of cover for these political risks follows the definitions from the insurance conditions of the English insurance market, like the general conditions.

The insured risks of “war” include for instance war, civil war, revolution, rebellion, insurrection, civil strife and confiscation resulting therefrom. The insured perils “strike” include damage to the transported goods caused by strikers, locked-out workers or persons taking part in industrial disturbances, riots or civil commotion, terrorists or persons acting with political motives. Material damage to the goods that occurs directly as a result of the above-mentioned risks is insured.

The additional clauses mentioned can be used to cover the risks of “war” in sea transport and international air freight (“airborne” and “seaborne”), but never in the case of land transport, due to the accumulation risk for the insurer.

The risks of strikes are insured by the relevant clause for carriage by any means of transport, including land.

Termination by insurer possible

However, insurers have a special right of termination in zthe policies for political risks. According to this, the insurer can terminate the contract with a notice period of 48 hours or 7 days depending on the applicable clause in the current contract. However, for deliveries that began prior to the effective date of termination, political risk coverage will remain in place for the entire shipment.

To date, cancellations of political risks have been declared as follows:

  • Transportation within Ukraine, Russia, Belarus as well as land and sea areas bordering Ukraine within a range of 200 km from the land/sea border with Ukraine or;
  • For all transports worldwide, but, after the notice period, with the re-inclusion of worldwide transports, excluding, however, the Ukraine region and the area less than 200 km from the country border with Ukraine and the whole of Russia.

Due to the current situation, insurers are canceling the additional clauses for war and strike both for international contracts and for policies existing in Ukraine and Russia itself.

If the insurer terminates the risks of war and strike, GrECo will, if required, negotiate with the insurer of the policy or try to find a solution for the re-inclusion of maritime and airborne transport (e.g. for sea journeys in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov) on the international insurance market. Depending on the war situation in the respective transport relation, coverage will be possible, as things stand at present, with additional premiums determined by reinsurers.

If the political risks are terminated, does the coverage from the insurance contract remain in effect for the remaining insured risks?

Yes. If the goods are damaged e.g. in a normal traffic accident of the means of transport, there is cover. However, the policyholder must provide the insurer with proof that the damage was caused by the accident and not by a war event.

In the current situation, are rail transports from Asia to Europe – via the Silk Road – still insured?

Yes, they are insured; but without cover for “war risk on land”; if the insurer terminates the risk of strike, the protection for these losses also ceases.

We recommend that the policyholder immediately informs GrECo if his forwarding agent reports an out-of-hours stopover during transport. We bring this to the attention of the insurer and thus fulfill the contractual obligation.

Damage or additional costs that occur due to delays in the journey as consequence of war events (e.g. the truck is not allowed to cross the border and therefore cannot continue the journey) are not insured.

The sanction clauses of the insurers for deliveries apply unchanged, according to which there is no cover in the event of a violation of sanctions and embargoes; due to the tightening or expansion of sanctions (EU, USA, UK) as consequence of the Ukraine war, this circumstance must be given special consideration.

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Herbert Mayerhofer

Competence Center Manager Transport

T +43 5 04 04 – 276