ESPO supports the EU's 5th sanction package against Russia and insists on a clear, uniform and smooth application in the different Member States

12 April 2022

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) would like to express its support for the 5th sanction package against Russia, as adopted by the EU Member States on 8 April. Europe's ports stress the importance of clarity and uniformity in the application of the sanctions in the different Member States of the EU. The governments and competent authorities in the Member States must put everything in place to guarantee a smooth implementation of this decision and limit further disruption of the EU supply chain.

The 5th sanction package includes a ban on Russian flagged vessels from EU ports, except for agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid, and energy. It foresees as from August 2022 a prohibition to purchase, import or transfer coal and other solid fossil fuels that comes from Russia into the EU. It also includes a ban on any Russian and Belarusian road transport companies to transport goods within the EU, including in transit, and provides further export bans, targeting jet fuel and other goods such as quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, high-end electronics, software, sensitive machinery and transportation equipment, and new import bans on products such as wood, cement, fertilisers, seafood and liquor.

Regarding the implementation of the EU-Russia sanctions, Europe's ports:

Stress the importance of an EU-wide uniform application of the sanctions: a harmonised implementation of the ban on Russian vessels from EU ports should be ensured, maintaining a level playing field between ports, and preventing “port shopping” by Russian ships. The European Maritime Safety Agency could in this respect play an important role in providing a clear list of Russian vessels to be banned from EU ports, taking into account those vessels that have re-flagged or re-registered since 24 February.

Ask the governments and the competent public authorities, both at national and EU level, to take up their responsibilities and plan enough staff and resources to ensure a smooth application of the measures, avoiding further delays in an already disrupted supply chain. The ban on Russian vessels from EU ports as well as the import and export bans on different categories of goods implies a lot of additional checks to be done in ports to control and determine which vessels and cargo are covered by the ban and which ones are to be exempted. Europe's ports count on the full engagement of the governments and competent authorities of the Member States to ensure that these checks are not creating further delays in an already disrupted supply chain. Blocked cargo and ships could create additional congestion in ports and in terminals in ports, which are already facing the consequences of a saturated supply chain.

The European port community condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and continues to express its solidarity with the Ukrainian port community, as represented by the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA), since 2018 observer member in ESPO.

European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) press release