COVID-19 continues to impact Saudi Arabia's transportation and shipping sectors. This article provides an update on the Kingdom's current position and the impact to consider.
We have been monitoring the situation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) closely.
In order to combat the spread of COVID-19, the KSA suspended all international flights to and from the KSA from Sunday, 15 March 2020 for 14 days.
In addition, all government departments (except for medical facilities, military and security forces) will be closed from 16 March 2020 for 16 days.
All court hearings will also be suspended for a period of 16 days from 16 March 2020.
Furthermore, many KSA bank branches have also been closed for 16 days from 16 March 2020, though certain designated branches will remain open to ensure that all banking services can continue, though there may be delays.
We have also been informed by P&I Club correspondents that all maritime crew changes (sign-on and sign-off) have also been suspended until further notice.
We understand that although government departments will be closed for 16 days from 16 March 2020, there is no impact on the ports and customs as they continue to operate.
In respect of court hearings being suspended, we understand that this does not impact the on-line filing of pleadings / documents and parties are still obliged to comply with the deadlines for filing pleadings / documents on-line. It is unlikely that the suspension will affect time limits that apply as a matter of law (for example, time periods within which appeal notices need to be filed, or claims have to be filed).
The above is also likely to apply to KSA arbitration hearings but will not impact deadlines to file submissions and other documents.
We continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide further updates in due course.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us if you or your business is impacted (or likely to be impacted) by the above and COVID-19.