Even if sanctions take time, Russian shipping traffic is still strong.


For example, data from MarineTraffic, a platform that uses in-ship tracking systems to show the real-time location of ships around the world, showed that incoming traffic from Russia’s major ports decreased after the invasion, but did not plummet, according to data. The number of container ships, tankers and bulk carriers, the three main types of ships transporting energy and consumer goods, decreased by around 23% year-over-year in March and April.

“The reality is that sanctions aren’t that hard,” said Georgios Hatzimanolis, who analyzes MarineTraffic’s global shipping.

A similar trend is shown by tracking by Lloyd’s List Intelligence, a maritime intelligence service. According to the Russian Ministry of Commerce, during the five weeks following the invasion, the number of bulk carriers carrying loose cargo, such as grain, coal and fertilizer, departing from Russian ports was only 6% less than in the five weeks before the invasion.

In the weeks following the invasion, Russia’s trade with China and Japan was largely stable, but their data showed that the number of bulk carriers destined for South Korea, Egypt and Turkey did indeed increase.

“There’s still a lot of traffic,” said Sebastian Villyn, head of risk and compliance data for Lloyd’s List Intelligence. “We haven’t really seen a drop.”

These figures contrast somewhat with statements from global leaders who emphasized the lethal nature of sanctions. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Thursday that the Russian economy is “completely shaken,” noting estimates that the Russian economy will face a 10% contraction and double-digit inflation this year.

Earlier this week, Yellen said the Treasury was continuing to consider whether to extend a sanctions waiver that would allow US financial institutions and investors to continue processing Russian bond payments. At her Senate hearing, she said officials were actively working to determine the “consequences and consequences” of allowing licenses to expire on May 25.

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