Winter triggers force majeure in Germany

Temperatures below -20C and heavy snowfall mainly in northwest Germany have caused Salzgitter to declare force majeure to their customers, a company spokesman tells Kallanish.

“At the moment and until further notice, it is not possible to ship goods by rail or inland waterway,” the company writes in the communiqué. It notes that truck transports can still be handled, but depending on the route, carriers are increasingly struggling with closed, blocked or poorly passable roads, traffic jams, and other related impairments.

The mill has its own port to the Mittelland canal, which froze last week. That did not cause much of an issue because the waterway plays a lesser role than the railways, which have been subject to massive delays in recent days, the spokesman says.

Thyssenkrupp Steel states that its supplies have been throttled by the winter conditions as well, but that it has not declared force majeure. In addition to impairments for trucks and trains that have caused shortages, certain hazardous freights are banned from roads, meaning that, for example, oxygen and hydrogen cannot be transported as usual. Like Salzgitter, tk Steel had to scale down production because of the shortcomings, a group spokesman says.