Logistics has become one of the key points of the fifth EU sanctions package against Russia, adopted last week after the events in the Ukrainian Bucha. According to it, Europe will prohibit the access of Russian ships (and ships under the flags of other countries, but under Russian control) to their ports, as well as the transportation of goods by Russian and Belarusian hauliers. More detailed regulations should follow on https://en.truckdispatchertraining.us/intermodal-dispatcher-training/ later, but already now there are reservations: the ban will not affect the transportation of essentials, food, agricultural products, humanitarian and energy goods.
The sea blockade of Russian ships is a catchy propaganda picture, but upon closer examination, the impact of such measures on the real cargo turnover between Russia and Europe is not very critical. According to the Central Research Institute of the Marine Fleet, the total number of marine transport fleet controlled by domestic shipowners (these ships sail both under the Russian flag and under foreign flags) is currently about 1,500 ships with a total deadweight (carrying capacity) of about 23 million tons , which is only slightly more than 1% of the total deadweight of the world merchant fleet. More than three-quarters of the entire Russian deadweight (17 million tons) are tankers designed to transport primarily oil products, that is, energy cargo, which should not be affected by restrictions. The remaining 6 million tons are bulk carriers carrying, for example, grain, but exemptions may also apply to them.
The transportation of industrial products (say, auto parts, ingredients for the food and chemical industries) and consumer goods is usually carried out by container sea transportation, and Russian shipping companies have very limited quantities of these types of vessels: for example, the leading Russian shipping container company Fesco has in only two dozen such vessels are at its disposal, and even then they serve mainly the Far Eastern routes.
Due to the geographical proximity of the EU countries to Russia, the vast majority of cargo turnover here falls on land routes of rail and road transport. Rail transportation is not affected by the new sanctions, but there are restrictions for automotive logistics. However, fatal consequences should not be expected here either: the bulk of road transport between Russia and Europe has been carried out by European companies in recent years. “It can be assumed that the ban on crossing the borders of the European Union will affect carriers, that is, companies registered in Russia or Belarus and operating vehicles with license plates of these countries, but not freight forwarders,” says Alexei Misailov, business development director of the logistics company FM Logistic in Russia . “However, these enterprises did not play a dominant role in cross-border transportation: they accounted for about 30 percent, while the main part of the market was always occupied by companies from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland thanks to state support and benefits. Of course, the ban will be a blow to the industry, although it should be noted that major players now have parks registered in both Belarus and Lithuania in order to avoid problems with obtaining bilateral and trilateral documents allowing entry.”
The boycott of leading European shipping companies specializing in container transportation (Danish Maersk, Swiss Mediterranean Shipping Company, French CMA CGM), announced since early March, has caused much more significant damage to Russian business, which, in protest against the special operation in Ukraine, stopped serving customers from our country. . In this regard, domestic companies leading foreign trade activities are forced to hastily rebuild their logistics routes, which slows down their foreign deliveries. Representatives of the Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill and the Arkhangelsk Plywood Plant, which feel a shortage of container ships to ship their products to Asian markets, told Expert about this problem.