By Chris Liakos, CNN Business
Two of the world’s largest container shipping companies are suspending freight bookings to and from Russia.
“As the stability and security of our operations are already directly and indirectly affected by the sanctions, new Maersk bookings to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended, with the exception of food, medical and humanitarian supplies,” said shipping giant Maersk in a statement. Tuesday.
“We are deeply concerned about how the crisis continues to escalate in Ukraine,” the company added, noting that it has begun to “see the effect on global supply chain flows such as delays, detention of goods by customs authorities in various transshipment centers, unpredictable operational repercussions.”
The Denmark-based company added that it “cannot receive or make payments to sanctioned Russian banks, or any other sanctioned party.”
MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a Swiss-owned container shipping company, also said it would stop all cargo bookings to and from Russia from Tuesday. This will include “all access areas, including the Baltic, Black Sea and Russian Far East,” the company said in a statement.
But MSC, which recently overtook Maersk to become the world’s largest container shipping company, according to shipping analyst firm Alphaliner, will continue to accept and monitor bookings for the delivery of essential goods such as food, medical equipment and humanitarian goods.
Another shipping company, CMA CGM, also suspended all bookings to and from Russia on Tuesday “in the interest of safety”.
“Our top priorities remain to protect our employees and ensure the continuity of your supply chain as much as possible,” the company said.
The halt to the crossings is not required by the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week. But it is a further sign that companies find it in their own interest to sever trade ties with the country, and such moves put additional pressure on the Russian economy.
These ship lines mostly sail on vessels that carry containerized cargo, rather than bulk carriers such as tankers or those carrying wheat and other cargo. Their refusal to sail to Russian ports will strain that country’s ability to receive the imported goods it depends on.
Tankers’ reluctance to call on Russia is also reducing Russia’s oil sales, even though the sanctions specifically allow Russian energy exports to ease disruptions in global energy markets.
– CNN Business’ Chris Isidore contributed to this report
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