Transport & Shipping

COVID-19 is particularly and adversely affecting shipping, in a similar way to events in many other industries. We examine what key legal issues need to be addressed by the shipping industry, the legislation approved on this subject in recent weeks, and whether force majeure and the rebus sic stantibus doctrine could potentially operate. 
The Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) has published in the Federal Official Gazette (DOF) a ruling specifying the essential activities competence of the STC. This is in connection with the ruling published by the Ministry of Health on March 31 in the DOF, by means of which extraordinary actions to address the heath emergency deriving from y COVID-19 were declared and non-essential activities were suspended. 
Passengers affected by the cancellation of a flight that is part of a package tour cannot claim reimbursement from the airline carrier, and instead have to claim a refund of the cost of their tickets from the organizer of their trip where they are protected by the legislation on package travel. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has so determined in a judgment delivered on July 10, 2019 (Case C-163/2018).
The Standing Committee of the Spanish Parliament has validated on 4 April 2019 the Royal Decree-Law 9/2019, of 29 March, amending Law 14/1994 of 1 June on the regulation of temporary employment agencies (TEAs) to adapt to the activities of port stevedores. This legislation, which already came into force, brings an end to the legal adaptation of the regime of workers involved in the port service of cargo handling activities.
A supreme court judgment (no 631/201, by the civil chamber) has held that a few airline ticket clauses are unfair as a result of a breach of the law, and therefore confirmed that they were null and void as had been found by Madrid Provincial Appellate Court, following a number of class action cases brought by consumers.