Danish shipping giant Maersk to stop deliveries to Russian ports

Shipping giant Maersk said on Tuesday that it would stop taking new non-essential orders to and from Russia, due to sanctions imposed over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen.
Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. The shipping giant is to stop deliveries to Russian ports following Moscow'a invasion of Ukraine. File photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Citing the impact of sanctions, “bookings to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended, with exception of Foodstuffs, Medical and Humanitarian supplies”, Maersk said in a statement.

The Danish company, one of the world’s leading container haulers, added it would attempt to honour bookings placed prior to the sanctions. 

Maersk said the suspension would “cover all Russian gateway ports until further notice”.

The company said the exceptions were to “underline” a focus on “social responsibility” and  “efforts to support the society despite all the complications and uncertainties” with current supply chains to and from Russia.

“We will keep monitoring the situation and reviewing impacts from sanctions to return our offering in Russia back to normal as soon as we are able to ensure stability and safety of our operations via Russian seaports,” the company added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday called for a ban on Russia from “all ports, all canals and all the world’s airports”.

The Danish giant, which is tied with Italy’s MSC for the world’s largest container shipping company, had already stopped all shipping to Ukraine because of the security situation.

Maersk’s announcement follows other Nordic companies limiting their operations in Russia.

On Monday, Swedish truck maker Volvo said it was stopping sales and halting production at its Kaluga plant, and telecoms giant Ericsson also said it would halt deliveries to Russian clients.

More than 350 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed during the invasion, according to Ukraine, while more than a half a million people have fled the country.

READ ALSO: Danish supermarket company stops selling Russian products

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French PM gives no credence to Russian Nord Stream claim UK involved

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Saturday she gave no credence to Russian military accusations that Britain was involved in the explosions that damaged Russia's Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea in September.

French PM gives no credence to Russian Nord Stream claim UK involved

“There is an investigation underway and I give no credence to what was said this morning,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a trip to Lisbon, alongside her Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa.

On Saturday, Russia’s defence ministry accused British naval staff of having blown up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month. 

READ ALSO: Sweden and Denmark say Nord Stream blasts equal to ‘several hundred kilos of TNT’

Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom is the majority shareholder in Nord Stream AG, the company that owns and operates the pipelines.

The British defence ministry denied the claims and said the accusation was designed to take attention away from Russia’s “disastrous handling of the illegal invasion” of Ukraine.

“According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” Russia’s defence ministry said.

Four leaks emerged on the two Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea off the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September with seismic institutes reporting they had recorded two underwater explosions prior to the leaks appearing.

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two of them in Sweden’s.

In early October, the Swedish prosecution authority announced that they had collected “pieces of evidence” during an underwater inspection of the leaks in the Swedish economic zone, which had backed up suspicions of sabotage.

And on Friday, Swedish prosecutors said they would conduct a new complementary crime scene investigation of the Nord Stream leaks, after the navy and the pipeline owner also began surveys this week.

READ ALSO: Germany opens probe of likely ‘blasts’ against Nord Stream