Shipping delays may spoil food, medical shipments to Russia, Maersk says

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Shipping containers are transported on a Maersk Line vessel through the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

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COPENHAGEN, March 2 (Reuters) - Shipments of foodstuffs and medical supplies to Russia risk being damaged or spoiled due to significant delays at ports and customs, shipping group Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) told its customers on Wednesday.

Maersk and two other large container lines have temporarily suspended cargo shipments to and from Russia in response to Western sanctions on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine. read more

The suspension did not include foodstuffs, medical and humanitarian supplies.

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"We do, however, warn caution on still placing bookings for perishable cargo due to significant delays in key transshipment hubs that may damage the cargo," Maersk said in a customer advisory on its website.

It said customs authorities in the European Union and UK are inspecting all containers to and from Russia transiting their terminals and ports to identify sanctioned and restricted shipments.

As a consequence, Maersk said it could not provide any guarantees and saw a "significant risk to our customers' perishable cargo".

For the past year the world has been struggling with supply chain bottlenecks caused by surging demand for retail goods transported on container ships amid lockdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The indirect impacts of sanctions was now putting further pressure on global freight, Maersk added.

"This is a global impact, and not only limited to trade with Russia".

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Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Stine Jacobsen, Editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman

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