Fresh EU sanctions target Russian shipping
Europe also considering bans on Russian oil
New sanctions will lead to the recalibration of bulk carrier trade flows as a generational energy crisis engulfs Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russia for oil, coal and gas
THE European Union will ban all Russian-operated vessels from its ports, cut coal imports from Russia and is considering extending sanctions to the oil sector.
EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said a fifth round of sanctions would increase financial pressure on Russia, which was “waging a cruel and ruthless war” on Ukraine and that “these atrocities cannot and will not be left unanswered”.
The ban on coal imports affected volumes worth about $4.4bn (€4bn), she said in a video statement on Twitter.
Any coal sanctions will significantly recalibrate bulk carrier trade flows at a time when a generational energy crisis has engulfed Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas for its transport needs and electricity generation.
Russia accounts for 40% of natural gas imports, 25% of oil imports and about 45% of all coal the EU consumes, figures show.
The 27-member bloc imported 32.8m tonnes of bituminous coal and 3m tonnes of coking coal in 2021, according to EU customs data.
Total European imports of seaborne coal were estimated at some 104.9m tonnes, according to data from London shipbroker Simpson Spence Young.
About 88m tonnes of the 177m tonnes of Russian seaborne coal exports sailed from Far Eastern ports, according to research from shipbroker Banchero Costa.
The remainder sailed from Baltic Sea ports, including 43m tonnes from Ust Luga, with most of these volumes destined for northwest Europe or Mediterranean ports.
No timing was given for any sanctions. The ban on Russian vessels adds to existing port bans announced in the UK in the past month.
Some 450 internationally trading vessels, not just Russian-flagged ships, were estimated to be caught up in the UK sanctions.
Strong indications were given that Russian oil is next to be banned from Europe.
“We are working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports, and we are reflecting on some of the ideas presented by the member states, such as taxes or specific payment channels such as an escrow account,” Ms von der Leyen said in the statement.
There will also be a “full transaction ban on four key Russian banks, among them VTB, the second-largest Russian bank”.
“These four banks, which we now totally cut off from the markets, represent 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector. This will further weaken Russia's financial system.”