Maersk to close Russia, Belarus offices
All vessel operations in Russia and service with Belarus have already been halted due to the Russia-Ukraine war
Offices in Far East Russia, Novorossiysk and Kaliningrad to close down during the summer of 2022
The Saint Petersburg and Moscow office will run until end of the year
Belarus office will shut down during the summer
Danish container shipping giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk said on May 4 it has stopped all vessel operations in Russia and service with Belarus as part of a total business closure in those two countries.
Maersk, the world’s second-largest container line, said in a letter to customers that it was quitting Russia and Belarus with the safety and stability of its people as its priority.
“Maersk has now stopped all vessel operations in Russia and service with Belarus. For the domestic operations, they are gradually being winded down and/or divested. The wind-down does not allow for any new business in neither Russia nor Belarus,” the advisory dated May 4 said.
The announcement came as the Ukraine war raged on with Russia redeploying its invasion to the eastern region of Donbas after suffering heavy losses in its failed attempt to capture the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and unseat duly elected President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Maersk did not give any other reason for its total pullout from Russia and Belarus, aside from its concern for the safety of its people.
“The safety and stability of our people remains at the forefront of our minds, and we have worked steadily to ensure that our people are safe,” Maersk said in the letter.
“We have done our utmost to withdraw from Russia in a responsible way, with our offices in Far East Russia, Novorossiysk and Kaliningrad expected to close down during the summer of 2022. The Saint Petersburg and Moscow office will run until the end of the year. Our Belarus office will also be shut down during the summer.”
The shipping giant also said safeguarding its customers’ supply chains remains a top priority, explaining that its teams had been in close contact with customers during the past months about the wind-down.
For the affected cargo “we have done our utmost to deliver it to initially planned end-destinations or to offer a change of destination where practicable, legally allowed and reasonable for our customers,” Maersk said, adding that for some, the arrangement was not possible.
“We will always work with the objective of minimizing disruption to our customers’ supply chains, and we strongly encourage affected customers to keep the lines of communication open between our teams,” Maersk said.