Europe’s Biggest Logistics Firms Halt Deliveries Into Russia

DHL Express air hub at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, outside Paris. (Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images via Bloomberg News)

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Europe’s biggest logistics firms halted shipments to Russia, further isolating the country’s businesses and consumers after its military invaded Ukraine.

DHL and Kuehne + Nagel AG, the continent’s largest freight forwarders, said they suspended inbound deliveries to the country, adding to the restrictions facing Russia after Moscow closed its airspace to European Union countries. Major container lines also have said they will curtail operations.

“Our inbound services to Russia and Belarus have been suspended, which is why we are also not accepting shipments to those countries until further notice,” DHL said in a statement on its website March 2. The company, a unit of Deutsche Post AG, has helped provide Russia with coronavirus vaccines and other materials for fighting the pandemic.

Deliveries from Europe to Russia still are possible by road, but are being conducted by a shrinking pool of smaller companies, according to a spokesman for Germany’s DSLV logistics association. Larger firms with operations in the U.S. and concerns about their reputations are no longer willing to transport goods there, he said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week has brought global condemnation, trade restrictions and financial sanctions. Consumers in the nation of 145 million people also are losing access to some of the world’s most iconic brands after Apple Inc., Nike Inc. and BMW AG announced plans to stop product sales in the country.

Shipping giants A.P Moller-Maersk A/S and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. on Feb. 28 said they are halting trade in the region, joining Hapag-Lloyd AG and Asia’s Ocean Network Express Pte in stopping services.

The European Union on Feb. 27 closed its airspace to Russian jets, and U.K., Canada and now the U.S. have done the same. Moscow has retaliated with reciprocal bans. While U.S. airlines haven’t yet been barred, all three major carriers have halted Russian overflights.

Deutsche Post ranks No. 6 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global freight carriers. Maersk ranks No. 4; Mediterranean Shipping Co. is at No. 5. Hapag-Lloyd ranks No. 14.

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