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Shipping companies suspend deliveries to Russia; Britain, Canada close ports to Russian ships

Maersk shipping (XEON/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Three of the world’s largest container shipping companies say they are suspending nonessential deliveries to Russia, adding to a litany of economic punishments aimed at Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The shipping companies Maersk, MSC, and CMA CGM announced their move on March 1. The largest of the three, the Danish company Maersk, said all new bookings to and from Russia “will be temporarily suspended, with exception of foodstuffs, medical and humanitarian supplies.”

Britain and Canada also closed ports to Russian ships on March 1. Britain banned any ship with Russian connections from entering its ports, while Ottawa said its ban also applied to fishing boats in its internal waters.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps encouraged other countries to prohibit ships tied to Russia from using their ports.

“We’ve just become the first nation to pass a law involving a total ban of all ships with any Russian connection whatsoever from entering British ports,” Shapps said on Twitter.

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the ban would have “a significant economic impact on Russian boats or ships that are either owned or flagged by Russia.”

Alghabra told reporters in Ottawa that other countries are considering doing the same. Alghabra acknowledged that not many Russian vessels travel directly to Canada’s ports, but said ships owned or flagged by Russia transport goods from other countries to Canada’s Atlantic shores.

The moves deepen Russia’s isolation as its invasion of Ukraine sparks an exodus of international companies.

To stem the stampede, Moscow said it would temporarily curb foreign investors from selling Russian assets. But energy firms BP and Shell have already decided to abandon their Russian businesses, while leading banks, airlines, automakers, and more have cut shipments and ended partnerships.