Juozas Baltiejus/Dreamstime
Maersk Cargo Shipping Vessel In Port At St Petersburg Russia© Juozas Baltiejus Dreamstime

Ukraine Updates: Maersk to Stop New Russian Shipments, Ford Suspends Russian JV

March 1, 2022
The global shipping giant said it would honor already-made agreements with Russian clients.

The manufacturing and global transportation communities are making the effort to distance themselves from Russia. On March 1, the two largest shipping lines in the world, MSC and Maersk, said they would suspend new shipments to and from Russia, as a consequence for its invasion of Ukraine. On the same day, Ford Motors announced it would suspend its Russian operations and its participation in the Sollers Ford joint venture.

Transport Giants Ship Out

Danish shipping giant A.P. Møller-Maersk AS said Tuesday it would stop accepting new shipments to and from Russia. In a March 1 announcement, Maersk said it would continue to honor previously-made shipments, as well as single-purpose shipments of food, medical and humanitarian supplies.

Mediterranean Shipping Company, or MSC, also announced a temporary stoppage on all cargo bookings headed to or from Russia, with a similar exception for essential goods, and said it would contact customers directly about Russia-related cargo already in transit.

In its announcement, Maersk said the exception for certain humanitarian goods was meant to emphasize that the suspension of trade to and from Russia is “to underline that our company is focusing on social responsibility and making the efforts to support society,” and not the result of increasing costs and existing sanctions against dealing with the country.

While it also said the company prioritizes minimizing shipping disruptions, Maersk warned customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany that they may experience “significant delays” as those countries search Russian-bound vessels for restricted commodities.

For more on the expected supply-chain related crises resulting from the Russian invasion: Expect a New Wave of Supply Chain Headaches with Ukraine Crisis, Bevy of Other Issues

Ford Hits the Road

In a company statement, Ford Motors said it would suspend all of its remaining Russian operations immediately. While the Dearborn, Michigan-based auto manufacturer says it has already “significantly wound down” its operations in Russia over the past few years, it still has a minority stake in the Sollers Ford joint venture, which produces Ford Transit commercial vans.

According to Ford’s corporate website, Sollers Ford operates an assembly plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, and two more in Elabuga, east of Moscow. All told, the JV employs more than 4,000 employees.

“Given the situation, we have today informed our JV partners that we are suspending our operations in Russia, effective immediately, until further notice,” Ford said. The auto company added that it would make a donation to the Global Giving Ukraine Relief Fund to support Ukrainian refugees.

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