World’s biggest shipping lines suspend non-essential deliveries to Russia

Mar 2, 2022: The world’s three largest shipping lines have suspended non essential shipments to Russia, joining the growing list of companies leaving Moscow amid Western sanctions over its attack on Ukraine.

Danish shipping company Maersk, MSC based in Switzerland and CMA CGM of France all announced on Tuesday that they will no longer take bookings from Russia and are suspending most shipments in the country.

“Excepting food, medical and humanitarian aid, bookings to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended,” Maersk said in a statement, citing the effects of the sanctions. The MSC announced similar measures, saying it would “continue to accept and screen bookings for the delivery of essential goods”.

The CMA CGM said its “highest priority is to ensure the safety of our employees and the continuity of your supply chain”. “In the interests of safety, the group has decided to suspend all bookings to and from Russia from today and until further notice,” it said in a statement posted on its website.

The West has imposed heavy sanctions on Russia to shut down its economy from the global financial system, forcing companies to suspend sales, sever ties and waste tens of billions of dollars in investment.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Tuesday that the sanctions were aimed at “isolating Russia politically, financially and economically”. He said after meeting with counterparts of the G7 club of rich countries that these measures have “already had a major impact on the capital markets and the currency”.

Other companies that suspended sales in Russia on Tuesday include Apple, Google, Ford and Harley-Davidson.

Russian authorities meanwhile have announced a number of measures to stem the decline of the ruble, which has declined 35% since the start of the invasion, and broader financial markets, including a ban on money transfers abroad and the closure of the Moscow Stock Exchange.

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