Security expert warns ships to leave Black Sea region as tension mounts

Odessa Container Terminal © Arkadiy Luchak

Security consultancy Dryad Global has warned all ships to leave the Black Sea region around southern Ukraine, but says there is no real threat to shipping, while the wider implications of the invasion are being analyzed.

There are currently three container ships in the Odessa region, according to AIS data from VesselsValue: Cosco-operated 9,400 teu Joseph Schulte; 3,543 TEUs Bach, operated by Zim and seen already leaving the area; and Hanse Limburga 1,740 teu vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd.

According to Hapag-Lloyd, the Hanse Limburg has already left the port of Odessa and a spokesperson added that its Odessa-based staff were all working from home with offices closed.

“Although we do not operate or own any vessels in the Black Sea, we provide a weekly service [BMX] with a charter boat. The ship is on its way to Istanbul. We are following developments very closely and working on routing alternatives for our BMX service, which we will announce in due course.

Dryad Global spokesperson Munro Anderson said The Loadstar the company advised all ships to broadcast their intentions widely on the radio and to “comply with all instructions given by the Russian military”.

He added that the Black Sea region was complex, “but the main risk is commercial” and, as long as shipping avoids Crimea, southern Ukraine and the Sea of ​​Azov, there should be no problem at the moment.

Hamburg terminal operator HHLA owns and operates a large box facility in Odessa and said, via Twitter“The port of Odessa was closed today by the Ukrainian authorities, therefore operations at our terminal have also been suspended. With the exception of security personnel, all employees are now at home.

According to Vespucci Maritime founder Lars Jensen, the Ukrainian port, with the facility in Tallinn, Estonia, handled a combined total of 453,000 TEUs.

In a broader view of the consequences of the Russian incursion, it is understood that Russia’s oil and gas supply will be cut off. While this could lead to higher prices, Global Shippers’ Forum director James Hookham was cautious but suggested inflation would be an issue for national governments to consider, along with tougher and broader penalties.

“I suspect central banks will pause to think,” he said, adding that banks had, during the financial crash of 2008/9 and Covid, supported economies with quantitative easing and interest rates. low interest.

“We were just coming out of the last round of support, but I think the US Federal Reserve will assess the trauma and may rethink to support the markets,” Hookham said.

He also warned that tougher penalties seem likely, but added that governments needed to be clear about what and who was being penalized, so those doing business with Russian shippers and suppliers would be clear whether they were allowed to trade. or not.

“There have been mistakes in the past, particularly with Iran where companies failed to realize they were in breach of sanctions,” the GSF said.

This broader view was echoed by Vivek Srivastava, Senior Trade Analyst at VesselsValue, who wrote: “The outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine has raised fears of the impact of further sanctions on global markets. energy, coupled with the UK Prime Minister’s announcement today of a “massive package of economic sanctions to come.

He added: “Russian exports accounted for 5.2% of global maritime trade on tankers (petroleum and refined petroleum products) and 6% of global maritime trade on LNG carriers. Such large proportions are not easily replaceable from other sources.

However, only 15.1% of Russian exports were transported on container ships and it is more likely that the import element will have a greater impact on container shipping in the longer term.

Former Barclay analyst and industry veteran Mark McVicar said there was a real risk markets could be weakened with oil now above $100 a barrel. He added that central banks were already nervous about inflation and soaring energy prices would not have alleviated those worries.

“Indeed, less demand could mean fewer consumer goods moved into containers or a slower rate of growth. [in the global economy]and there is uncertainty about how long this will last, and markets don’t like uncertainty,” McVicar said.

There is no apparent rationale for the planned “normalization” of container shipping markets in the second half of this year, touted by some lines and, if trade slows as a result of Russian action, carriers will look to the 23%-24% of the fleet to be delivered in 2023.

“So the question will be will the lines be disciplined enough to maintain control of capacity in the face of lower demand?” said Mr. McVicar.

Listen to this clip from The Loadstar Podcast on this “super negative development” of Peter Sand, of Xeneta.