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UPDATE 1-Rotterdam Port says Russia traffic continues, but confusion over rules

(Updates with details, quote.)

AMSTERDAM, March 1 (Reuters) - Most traffic to and from Russia at Europe’s biggest port is continuing with minimal disruption as key energy products such as crude oil and LNG are not covered by EU sanctions against Moscow, a spokesperson for Rotterdam port said on Tuesday.

However, there is some confusion among shipping companies and customs officials are conducting extra examinations of containers that may contain goods covered by the sanctions, Sjaak Poppe said, adding this was affecting individual firms.

“When there’s uncertainty (for outbound containers), a company may say ‘well, we won’t load it then’,” he said, adding that uncertainty over inbound containers could see cargo remaining on the ship.

He said there were no significant delays in the port at the moment.

Around 30% of raw oil and 25% of liquefied natural gas (LNG) that moves through Rotterdam comes from Russia.

On Monday, shipping giant Maersk halted all container shipping to and from Russia. Britain, not a member of the European Union, moved to close its ports to Russia-linked ships.

Poppe said the overall impact in Rotterdam was limited for now. The port will follow instructions of governments if they impose additional restrictions, he said.

Around 10% of container transport in Rotterdam is linked to Russia. The EU has forbidden the export to Russia of a large number of “dual use” goods that could have military as well as civilian applications.

Many goods from Russia, including steel, copper, aluminium and nickel do not fall under the current restrictions, the port said.

“Companies will have to make individual choices about how they handle Russian shipments,” the port said in a statement. (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Mark Potter)

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