Sanctions: fruit exporters suspend deliveries to Russia

South African fruit exporters have mostly stopped packing for Russia, with credit insurers withdrawing cover and some shipping companies temporarily suspending bookings to and from the country. Meanwhile, citrus exporters will have to wait and see what impact international sanctions against Russia will have on their upcoming citrus exports.

According to FreshPlaza, local fruit exporters have stopped packing stone fruit, top fruit and some grapes destined for Russia. Trade relations with the country are in balance after its invasion of neighboring Ukraine sparked an international crisis and triggered economic sanctions from the international community.

Shipments of South African fruit, however, are still ongoing to Russia and limited additional volumes are expected to be shipped to the country. Everything will depend on the availability of ships, credit and marine insurance and whether or not food sanctions are exempted, 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 bound for Russia were blocked at European Union ports over the past weekend with products such as fruit allowed through after sanctioned cargo inspection, such as parts of plane.

Industry officials told the publication that it was reasonable to expect significant delays.

Meanwhile, priority will be given in the EU to containers carrying perishable goods, such as fruit and vegetables, it has been learned.

“It is expected that food and essential services will be excluded from the sanctions and that shipping companies can continue to transport these categories of goods,” FreshPlaza wrote.

Although pear and stone fruit exporters have stopped packing for export to Russia, the fruit already on the water is a concern. Exporters are not guaranteed to be paid for all these shipments.

Normally, large volumes of citrus are shipped to Russia later in the season, which is now a big concern for the fruit export industry.

ALSO READ: Sanctions against Russia: South African companies are going through a difficult period

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