Trendwatch: Special Edition - Crisis in the Ukraine

Ukraine closes Sea of Azov amid military action by Russia  

Commercial shipping in and out of Ukraine has largely stopped amid wide-scale Russian military operations in the country and a Ukraine government notice Thursday to captains warning them to stay clear of the Sea of Azov.  

Ships are banned from entering the waterway and are being asked to anchor if they are in port, according to one Kyiv shipper.   

Marine traffic data show no vessels crossing the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, overnight. Dozens of ships typically cross the strait daily to move commodities like steel, grains and manufactured goods.  

Wall Street Journal

Shutting of shipping services to Russia would disrupt global supply chain: Shipping consultancy

Lars Jensen of Vespucci Maritime says that as long as the problem of port closures remains confined to Ukraine, global shipping congestion issues will not, to a large extent, be affected. He adds that “all bets are off” if the problem includes Russia.

Watch the CNBC video here

Hear more from Lars Jensen on March 1, 2022, as he joins BDP for our upcoming webinar

Russia's invasion of Ukraine throws another wrench into supply chains

Russia's invasion of Ukraine this week threatens to further upend international supply chains still reeling from the protracted COVID-19 pandemic and other disruptions, experts say.  

A growing list of companies are halting operations in the region in response to the escalating conflict. A.P. Moller-Maersk will refrain from calling any ports in Ukraine "until further notice," and FedEx and UPS suspended service into and out of the country.  

The attack on Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia could prompt key materials shortages, material cost increases, demand volatility, logistics and capacity constraints, and cybersecurity breaches, according to Gartner analysts Koray Köse and Sam New. 

Supply Chain Dive

Russia's invasion of Ukraine could worsen the global labor crunch in shipping, with one ship manager calling the crisis an 'operational nightmare' 

The shipping industry could face an even worse labor crunch on Russia's invasion of Ukraine as about 15% of the world's seafarers come from the two countries. 

If shipping companies have problems moving crew in and out of Ukraine, it could result in a manpower shortage, while Western sanctions could make it difficult to pay seafarers from both countries, reported industry publication Tradewinds, citing shipowners and ship managers who supply workers to vessels. 

With 90% of global trade transported on ships, supply chains could be disrupted, said the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). 

Business Insider

Ukraine-Russia war to lead to currency fluctuations, rise in energy prices and worsening of supply chain crisis, says industry 

 With the Russia-Ukraine crisis set to severely impact global trade flows, India’s exporting community is keeping a close tab on the evolving situation. In the event of trade and financial sanctions on Russia, exporters would need to resort to course corrections, experts say. 

The crisis has certainly added to the uncertainty exporters face, says the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO). The industry body has advised exporters to evaluate implications of the sanctions before executing any pending orders. “Exporters are advised to wait and watch as the exact implication of the banking and financial sanctions needs to be evaluated. It is hoped that the wind-down period (to wrap up trade transactions) would be available in the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) sanctions to take care of transactions in the pipeline,” says A Sakthivel, President of FIEO. 

The Economic Times

EU to hit Putin, Russian Foreign Minister with sanctions 

The European Union plans to hit Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with sanctions, a senior EU official said, as the bloc readies a second package of sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. 

The EU will formally sign off on sanctions Friday that will cut 70% of Russia’s banking system off from international financial markets and place limits on the amount of money Russian elites can hold in the EU, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. 

EU leaders gave their backing to the package of sanctions at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday evening. Mrs. von der Leyen said the measures, which were developed in close coordination with the U.K. and U.S., would increase Russia’s borrowing costs, lift inflation there and gradually erode the country’s industrial base. 

Wall Street Journal

US slaps broad restrictions on Russia imports over Ukraine 

The Biden administration announced sweeping restrictions to deny Russia access to products based on U.S. technology, as well as those that can be used for military purposes, in response to its invasion of Ukraine. 

President Joe Biden is creating two new so-called foreign direct product rules for Russia and the Russian military, limiting access to goods and parts made by non-U.S. companies using American inputs and design, the Commerce Department said in a statement on Thursday. The rule has been used against Huawei Technologies Co. to restrict use of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and others to make chips. 

The U.S. is suspending all existing licenses for exporting to Russia and creating a new requirement for American companies to ship items including microelectronics, telecommunications items, sensors, navigation equipment and aircraft components, Commerce officials told reporters. Some items weren’t previously controlled for Russia and will significantly impact the nation’s ability to buy things that it doesn’t produce.