Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk will temporarily halt all container shipping to and from Russia, in light of the sanctions placed against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

The news follows the announcement from container shipping firm Ocean Network Express, confirming it has cancelled bookings to and from Russia. Germany-based Hapag Lloyd also halted bookings for Russia, along with operations for Ukraine, on a temporary basis last week.

A.P. Moller-Maersk, which operates container shipping routes to St Petersburg and Kaliningrad in the Baltic Sea, Novorossiysk in the Black Sea, and Vladivostok and Vostochny on Russia’s east coast, has announced today that all container shipping to Russia would be temporarily halted.

The company has confirmed that the suspension will not apply to foodstuffs or medical and humanitarian supplies.

“As the stability and safety of our operations is already being directly and indirectly impacted by sanctions, new Maersk bookings within ocean and inland to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended,” A.P. Moller-Maersk said in a statement.

As reported by Reuters, The Danish shipping firm owns a 31% stake in Russian port operator Global Ports, which operates six terminals in Russia and two in Finland. Global Ports’ shareholders also include Russian state nuclear company Rosatom and Russian businessman Sergey Shiskarev.

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“With Global Ports, we are looking at how to comply with the ever-evolving sanctions and restrictions and preparing possible next steps,” Maersk said.

Swiss shipping company MSC has also ceased cargo bookings to and from Russia, as of today.

In a statement released today, the company stated: “MSC has been closely monitoring the advice from governments about new sanctions, following the February 2022 conflict in Ukraine, and has been operating shipping and inland services to and from Russia in full compliance with international sanctions measures, applicable to it.

“With immediate effect, a temporary stoppage on all cargo bookings to and from Russia, covering all access areas including Baltics, Black Sea, and Far East Russia. MSC will contact customers directly, as necessary, in respect of any Russia-related cargo that is already in transit.”

As with A.P. Moller-Maersk, MSC has also confirmed today that it will still accept and screen essential goods, such as food and humanitarian cargo.

Commercial shipping at Ukrainian ports has been put on hold since 25 February by the country’s military following the invasion by Russian forces. Meanwhile, Russia has halted the movement of commercial ships in the Sea of Azov until further notice.

The UK Government has also been urged to restrict Russian vessels from using British ports after it became known that a Russian-owned oil tanker, NS Champion, is due to dock in Orkney, Scotland, this week.