Portland News

Three Biggest Container Shipping Companies Halt Operations to Russia

Photo: Reuters

On Tuesday, the three most prominent container lines in the world temporarily halted cargo shipments to and from Russia in response to Western sanctions on Moscow after it attacked Ukraine. 

Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, which Moscow calls a “special military operation,” is the biggest assault in Europe since the Cold War. 

The largest container shipping line in the world by capacity, Swiss-based MSC, stated in a consumer advisory that as of March 1, it had established “a temporary stoppage on all cargo bookings to/from Russia, covering all access areas including Baltics, Black Sea and Far East Russia.” 

It said, “MSC will continue to accept and screen bookings for delivery of essential goods such as food, medical equipment, and humanitarian goods.” 

The second-largest shipping company behind MSC, Maersk (based in Denmark), also stated that it would temporarily suspend all containing shipping to and from Russia, further saying that the pause across all Russian ports would exempt food, medical, and humanitarian supplies. 

“As the stability and safety of our operations is already being directly and indirectly impacted by sanctions, new Maersk booking within ocean and inland to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended,” a statement issued by the company read. 

The world’s third-largest carrier, CMA CGM from France, announced Tuesday that it had halted all bookings to and from Russia until further notice, pointing to safety concerns. 

The measures followed Singapore-based Ocean Network Express, and Germany’s Hapag Lloyd made the same decisions—discontinuing operations linked to Russia, posing additional transit problems ahead. 

For the past year, the globe has faced immense trouble with the supply chain holdup rooted in the soaring demand for retail products shipped on container ships and lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to MSC, it would tap consumers directly regarding any Russia-linked cargo that was already in shipment. 

“MSC has been closely monitoring the advice from governments about new sanctions,” MSC added.

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