Port of Rotterdam witnessed an accumulation of approximately 4,500 containers due to the sanctions imposed against Russia. Allard Castelein, the Netherlands port CEO, reported to Bloomberg that the examination process for shipping containers linked to Russia is a “nightmare.” The Russian-linked shipping containers are being kept aside for a thorough inspection to verify that they do not breach the imposed sanctions.
The EU expanded its list of sanctions against Russia earlier this month to restrict the export of luxury items to the nation. In March, the US declared a ban on Russia’s oil imports, but European nations have been hesitating to restrict energy imports from Russia.
On Wednesday, Poland impoaed a ban on oil and gas imports from Russia and also requested other nations in the EU to follow. The EU gets nearly 40% of the natural gas from the Port of Rotterdam and Russia serves as a hub for major energy imports.
Per Castelein, almost 10% of the vessels coming via the port are some way linked to Russia, with many related to energy. The Rotterdam port imports around 30% of Russia’s crude oil, per the official port website.
The congestion hits when ports are just starting to recover from massive supply-chain snarls resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Amid rising concerns regarding how the port will deal with the handling of shipping containers related to Russia, Castelein mentioned that in the likely event that the number of containers continues to go up or completely block the terminals, he has been considering making a space for stowing the glut of shipping containers linked to Russia.
The Port of Rotterdam congestion is just an indication of the larger effect on the global supply chain owing to Russia invading Ukraine. Experts had warned last month that shipping rates could be triple as freighters have to reroute and insurance rates go up following the intense conflict in the Black Sea.
Three major shipping firms in the world for the time being have halted shipments from and to Russia amid the country’s attack on Ukraine.
The UK has asked the ports to prevent Russia’s ships from entry, including shipping vessels that are chartered, possessed, controlled, or even operated by any individual who had connections with Russia. Russia’s RM Mikhail Mishustin threatened to retaliate against countries that ban Russian vessels from their ports.