All major container carriers suspend Russia bookings
Carriers to accept and screen bookings for delivery of essential goods such as food, medical equipment and humanitarian goods.
French carrier CMA CGM has also decided to suspend all bookings to and from Russia till further notice.
"Our utmost priorities remain to protect our employees and ensure as much as possible the continuity of your supply chain," an official statement said.
CMA said all 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. We have raised our alert levels and took preventive measures to protect our IT systems as well as your personal and company data."
Earlier, the largest carrier Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Danish carrier Maersk had suspended Russian operations.
MSC said it will continue "to accept and screen bookings for delivery of essential goods such as food, medical equipment and humanitarian goods."
Maersk, in its suspension advisory, said: "As the stability and safety of our operations is already being directly and indirectly impacted by sanctions, new Maersk bookings within ocean, air and intercontinental rail to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended, with the exception of foodstuffs, medical and humanitarian supplies (bar dual-use items)."
Maersk has also told clients to expect significant delays since Netherlands, Belgium and Germany "are holding back vessels en route to Russia in search of restricted commodities, primarily dual-use items. The inspections of export and transshipment cargo bound for Russia are related to implementing procedures to comply with sanctions and export controls recently imposed by different jurisdictions."
German carrier Hapag Lloyd, which has also temporarily suspended Russian bookings and stopped Ukraine bookings earlier, said in its latest update, that constraints presented by the sudden port closures have affected supply chains in many parts of the world. "Therefore, we will be offering a free Change of Destination (COD) fee for containers in transit as well as free booking cancellation fees for inbound cargo to both countries."
Container shipping expert Lars Jensen, in his LinkedIn post, "but if they are suddenly stopped, all the containers already on the vessels would get stuck in the major hubs in Europe and worsen the congestion problem."
He added that this would mean 10,000 TEU per day for the market.
The situation is getting tough for the global supply chain with every global geopolitical development.