MAERSK Line has begun publishing advisories to customers about the Baltimore bridge situation on its website, including confirmation that the owners of containership Dali have declared General Average.

“General Average is a long established procedure in the maritime industry and is included in our Terms and Conditions of carriage,” Maersk said. “The owners of the vessel have control of whether to invoke this procedure and have done so. We’ve advised our customers with cargo aboard the Dali to inform their cargo insurer of the GA declaration as swiftly as they can, and we will work with all relevant parties as this process proceeds.”

In other information Maersk has asked customers with import cargo currently sitting at discharge ports in Newark, Norfolk and Philadelphia to arrange to pick up containers as soon as possible to assist with increased flows of containers.

While still unable to accept new bookings into or out of the Port of Baltimore, Maersk says it continues to serve greater Baltimore via alternative ports such as Newark, Norfolk and Philadelphia via road and rail subject to available capacity. All acceptance of new Maersk SPOT ocean bookings to and from Baltimore remain suspended temporarily.

The Baltimore Captain of the Port recently announced the opening of two temporary alternate channels for “commercially essential vessels” in the Port of Baltimore, but these alternate channels are not deep enough to accommodate the oceangoing container vessels that Maersk and other carriers use to call upon Baltimore and other USEC ports, the line said.

“As of 10 April, some media reports began referencing a third alternate channel slated to open later in April that would be able to accommodate larger vessels. Details on this third channel have yet to be confirmed by the Baltimore Captain of the Port via Unified Command, the group tasked with coordinating the incident response.

“We understand your need for clarity on your cargo, as well as future changes to our routes regarding Baltimore. We are working diligently to identify solutions and will inform you as soon as possible of changes to current and future cargo to Baltimore.”

The Maersk-chartered Dali struck a pylon of the Frances Scott Key Bridge across Baltimore’s Patapsco River in the early hours of 26 March, following an apparent power failure on board. Removal of sufficient parts of the collapsed bridge to enable a limited return of commercial traffic is expected to take until at least the end of next month.