Container shipping companies halt shipments to and from Russia

Several container shipping majors have temporarily suspended bookings to and from Russia amid the Russian military attack on Ukraine.

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Illustration. Image by Kees Torn on Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The bookings suspensions are a result of severe sanctions on Russia imposed by governments around the world. The international sanctions target Russian transport, energy and financial sectors.

Maersk: Stability and safety of operations impacted by sanctions

Danish container shipping and logistics giant Maersk said it is temporarily halting new bookings within ocean, air and intercontinental rail to and from both Russia because the stability and safety of its operations are directly or indirectly impacted.

Exempted from the booking suspension to/from Russia are foodstuffs, medical and humanitarian supplies.

The suspension began on 1 March 2022 and covers all Russian gateway ports.

“We are closely following the ever-evolving situation with governments posing new sanctions against Russia and the regular adjustments that are being made to the list of restrictions. With that in mind, we now see the clear need to establish new and revise existing processes of accepting and handling bookings,” Maersk said.

“We are also starting to see the effect on global supply chain flows such as delays and detention of cargo by customs authorities across various transshipment hubs – overall resulting in unpredictable operational impacts.”

“For cargo already underway and bookings placed before this suspension was announced, we will do our utmost to deliver it to its intended destination. Consequently, we will still call Russia although we will not accept new bookings unless they belong in the exception categories mentioned above,” the company added.

It also noted that significant delays are expected as countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and German are holding back vessels en route to Russia in search of restricted commodities.

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On 24 February, Maersk also decided not to call any ports in Ukraine.

MSC: Temporary stoppage on all Russia-related shipments

Similarly, Swiss container shipping major MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company introduced on 1 March “a temporary stoppage on all cargo bookings to/from Russia, covering all access areas including Baltics, Black Sea and Far East Russia”.

The company said it will continue to accept and screen bookings for delivery of essential goods such as food, medical equipment and humanitarian goods.

“MSC has been closely monitoring the advice from governments about new sanctions, following the February 2022 conflict in Ukraine, and has been operating shipping and inland services to and from Russia in full compliance with international sanctions measures, applicable to it,” MSC said.

CMA CGM: Bookings stoppage “in the interest of safety

French shipping and logistics company CMA CGM also decided to suspend all bookings to and from Russia on 1 March citing safety concerns.

“All our employees in Ukraine are reported safe and working from home. We continue to ensure constant contact with them. We are also taking all necessary measures for our seafarers,” according to CMA CGM.

“We have raised our alert levels and took preventive measures to protect our IT systems.”

Last week, the company suspended all vessel calls as well as bookings to and from Ukraine.

Hapag-Lloyd suspends bookings to Ukraine, Russia

Germany’s liner shipping company Hapag-Lloyd announced on 24 February its decision to stop bookings from and to Ukraine and temporarily suspend bookings to and from Russia.

Last week, it also closed its office in Odessa.

Shipments that were already en route to these two countries have been diverted to other ports. As informed, all cargo that was en route to Odessa was discharged in Constanta, Romania and all cargo bound for Novorossiysk was discharged in Istanbul, Turkey.

ONE: Operations in Ukraine, Russia disrupted

Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) — a joint venture of container line operations of three Japanese carriers — Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) — informed that its operations in the area are disrupted.

It added that the company’s ability to complete the carriage of
consignments to some destinations is, or is likely to become, obstructed.

Therefore, ONE suspended booking acceptance to and from Odessa, Ukraine, and Novorossiysk, Russia on 28 February.

The company also suspended booking acceptance to & from St. Petersburg, Russia but said it continues to evaluate operational feasibility.

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