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March 1, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 1:32pm

Ocean Network Express halts Russia bookings; Maersk may follow

CMA CGM Group has also omitted Odesa, Ukraine, from its BEX and BSMAR services.

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict

Danish shipping company AP Moller-Maersk (Maersk) is weighing the suspension of all deliveries to and from Russia in the wake of Western sanctions imposed on the country for its invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, Maersk said: “In light of the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, we at AP Moller-Maersk are closely monitoring and preparing to comply with the ever-evolving sanctions and restrictions imposed against Russia while we safeguard our operations and our people in consideration of the constant developing situation. Our preparations include a possible suspension of Maersk bookings to and from Russia on ocean and inland.”

Meanwhile, container shipping firm Ocean Network Express (ONE) cancelled bookings to and from Russia.

In a customer advisory statement, ONE said: “Booking acceptance to and from Odesa, Ukraine, and Novorossiysk, Russia, is to be suspended with immediate effect until further notice. Booking acceptance to and from St Petersburg, Russia, is suspended with immediate effect until further notice whilst we evaluate the operational feasibility.”

Similarly, Germany-based Hapag Lloyd halted bookings for Russia, along with operations for Ukraine, on a temporary basis last week.

A Hapag spokesperson said that the company is ensuring that it complies with the levied sanctions.

Additionally, MSC started placing operational contingencies and stopped taking new bookings for cargo to or from Ukraine.

In a statement, MSC said: “For the time being MSC ships will not call at Ukrainian ports and we are implementing various other operational changes to other vessels in the region to make use of our wide Black Sea port network. In such cases, we will declare the voyage as ended in the last port prior to Ukraine.”

On similar grounds, CMA CGM Group removed Odesa, Ukraine, from its BEX and BSMAR services, as well as suspending bookings to and from Odesa.

The group also announced that it would redirect floating cargo to the ports of Constanza, Romania; Tripoli, Lebanon; or Piraeus, Greece.

Recently, the UK Government was urged to restrict Russian ships from using its ports after it emerged that a Russian-owned oil tanker was due to dock in Orkney, Scotland, this week.

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