Business, Freight News, Sea

Impact of Russia-Ukraine conflict on Port of Rotterdam

[ March 4, 2022   //   ]

The conflict in Ukraine has prompted the European Union and other bodies to impose a number of sanctions on Russia. The extensive import of energy (crude oil, oil products, LNG, coal) is not (yet) affected by sanctions, but the export and transhipment of containers suffers from the uncertainty caused by the conflict and the sanctions.
Of the roughly 470 million tons transshipped through the port of Rotterdam, 62 million tons are oriented towards Russia (13%). Large amounts of energy carriers are imported from Russia via the port of Rotterdam. Currently this comes to roughly 30% of Russian crude oil, 25% of LNG, and 20% of oil products and coal. Russia exports products such as steel, copper, aluminum and nickel via Rotterdam. This is not yet covered by the trade restrictions announced by the European Union.
It is currently unknown what the developments in Ukraine will mean for these flows in the coming period.
Barely 10% of Rotterdam’s container transport is linked to Russia. The European Union has prohibited the export of a number of goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes (dual use). That means container cargo with Russia as its destination will receive extra Customs inspections.
The uncertainty (what exactly is covered by the sanctions, how quickly will Customs release containers for export, how is the conflict developing, how big are the payment risks etc.) means that various container terminals and shipping companies have decided not to accept or handle any containers with destination Russia at the moment.
During the last weekend of February, Dutch Customs stopped all containers destined for Russia. This happened because of the newly introduced sanctions against Russia and pending the adjusted enforcement for this.
Dutch Customs is now assessing whether the containers may contain sanctioned goods. The checks start with the containers with perishable goods, such as fruit and vegetables. As soon as it is clear that a container does not contain sanctioned goods, it is released again. Currently, it is not yet possible to indicate when all containers will be released again. Customs deploys extra staff for these checks.
In the meantime, Customs checks goods again in a regular manner. The stock of blocked containers is therefore no longer increasing at this time.