Dockworkers and shipping companies expand boycott of Russian trade

By K. Oanh Ha (Bloomberg) —

Dockworkers around the world are pushing to expand bans on Russian ships from their ports, moves that could blacklist more than 1,700 ships connected to the country as its invasion of Ukraine strains the chains of already disrupted global supplies.

Longshoremen’s unions in Canada, the United States and Australia have themselves taken action or are calling on their governments to deny entry to Russian merchant ships, following the UK’s decision to do so in the part of a growing range of sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime.

“Working people around the world oppose Russia’s invasion, including thousands of dockworkers who show solidarity with the Ukrainian people and despise Putin’s aggression,” Federation President Paddy Crumlin said on Thursday. Transport Workers’ International.

The shipping industry that has served as a lifeline to economies during the pandemic is joining the global backlash against Putin’s military offensive by severing trade ties. Almost all of the largest shipping container ships – China’s Cosco Shipping Co. being a notable exception – publicly refuse to book Russian cargo.

Mediterranean Shipping Co. and AP Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s two largest container companies, have halted bookings for Russian freight, with Maersk warning customers that the wider fallout will have “a global impact, and not just limited to trade with Russia”. ”

In one Tweeter On Thursday, the San Francisco-based International Longshore & Warehouse Union said its members “will not load or unload any Russian cargo entering or leaving the 29 ports on the West Coast of the United States.”

UK dockworkers announced late last month that their members in ports would refuse to load and unload Russian-owned or controlled vessels in UK ports. The union representing dockers and seafarers in Australia wants to do the same and is pushing for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to join other governments in sanctioning Russia. A union representative said it would be difficult for members on the ground to enforce an embargo without government cooperation.

In New Zealand, the Maritime Union of New Zealand and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union joined last week to deliver protest letters to captains of Russian-flagged, Russian-owned ships entering the country’s ports.

The ITF estimates there are around 1,522 Russian-flagged vessels over 500 gross tons, the majority being container ships, bulk carriers and tankers, according to databases available to the union. In addition, about 200 vessels do not fly the Russian flag but are registered with beneficial owners in Russia or controlled from the country, he added.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.