South African fruit exporters have mostly stopped packing for Russia as credit insurers withdraw their cover and some shipping lines temporarily halt bookings to and from the country. Meanwhile, citrus exporters will have to wait and see what the impact of international sanctions against Russia will be on their upcoming citrus exports.
According to FreshPlaza, local fruit exporters have stopped packing stone fruit, topfruit, and some grapes that were destined for Russia. Trade relations with the country are in the balance after its invasion of its neighbour, Ukraine, sparked an international crisis and triggered economic sanctions from the international community.
Shipments of South African fruit, however, are still underway to Russia with further limited volumes expected to be shipped to the country. This will all depend on the availability of vessels, credit and marine insurance and whether food is exempt from sanctions, as credit insurers withdraw their cover and some shipping lines close routes.
MSC and Ocean Network Express have temporarily halted bookings to and from Russia.
According to FreshPlaza all containers headed to Russia were blocked in European Union ports over the past weekend with products such as fruit allowed to go through after inspection for sanctioned cargo, such as aircraft parts.
Industry officials told the publication that it is reasonable to expect significant delays.
Meanwhile priority will be given in the EU to containers carrying perishable cargo, such as fruit and vegetables, it is reported.
“There are expectations that food and essential services could be excluded from sanctions and that shipping lines will be able to continue carrying those categories of cargo,” FreshPlaza wrote.
Although pear and stone fruit exporters have stopped packing for export to Russia, the fruit already on the water are a concern. Exporters are not assured of getting paid for all those shipments.
Normally, there are high volumes of citrus going to Russia later in the season, which now presents a big concern for the fruit export industry.
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