Floods in Australia lead to Force Majeure declarations

Force Majeure clauses; one of those sections of the contract that you don't really bother with, probably don't even read (I'm talking to the procurement audience here; I'm sure all you lawyers study them with acute interest).

But the last 12 months have brought us volcanoes, extreme weather in many parts of the world, and now floods in Australia leading to Force Majeure clauses being activated.  As the Guardian reports;

Anglo American has become the latest company to declare force majeure on its coal mines in Australia's Queensland state after torrential rains. Yesterday rival mining group Rio Tinto and other companies did the same after flooding brought parts of coal production and coal export infrastructure - roads, rail and ports - to a standstill.....   Coal mines with an annual production capacity of at least 80 million tonnes - about 30% of Australia's coal exports last year - are now under force majeure.

So it might just be a good time to check out exactly what those clauses say in the case of key suppliers.  Are there actions laid out that the supplier has to take?  Have they the right to supply the 'missed' deliveries once the crisis is over or is that your call?  Do you have the ability to go to the top of the queue once things do get better?  Do you have any comeback if you have to spend a fortune finding alternative supply?

I suspect that, even as we speak, a few filing cabinets are being searched, and a few databases interrogated.  Just what exactly does that contract say?

And, more generally - and sorry to mention it yet again - how up to date and robust  is your supply chain risk assessment?

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