Freight News, Sea

Shipping lines halt Russia bookings, says Woodland

[ March 8, 2022   //   ]

Shipping lines are not accepting any new bookings to or from Russia except for humanitarian goods such as food and medical supplies while temporary suspensions have also been announced for air and rail movements, reports forwarder Woodland Group.

It says that the aim is to reduce the risk of overwhelming congestion in European hubs due to an influx of vessels or containers descending on the ports with no onward destination.

The UK has meanwhile banned all Russian owned, affiliated, chartered or flagged vessels from its ports, although Russian-owned cargo aboard non-Russian vessels will be free to move. The rule further extends to vessels in ownership of other nations where the next or last destination is within the Russian Federation, except for those carrying humanitarian aid. The port bans have caused vessels to deviate from their course or anchor whilst awaiting further information.

The European Parliament is looking to enforce similar measures across the continent, with major European ports such as Hamburg and Rotterdam already beginning to refuse Russian-originating or destined containers. Any Russian cargo already on vessels will not be unloaded and will remain on the vessel, and any cargo at the terminal will remain at port until further notice.

Closer to the crisis, ports across the Black Sea have been closed, forcing vessels to either reroute or return to origin.

Woodland adds that the situation is having a big impact on production lines too, with automotive firms such as Volkswagen and BMW slowing production in Europe due to a delay in deliveries of parts originating in Ukraine or Russia. The two countries are important sources of many metals used in the car building process, with parts such as catalytic converters.

Retailers, such as furniture giant Ikea are pausing exports and imports in and out of Russia and Belarus, including the sourcing of materials. The IKEA group alone has more than 15,000 workers affected in the region.