Freight carriers reorganizing following Russia sanctions

Narva border crossing.
Narva border crossing. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin/ERR

Transport companies that used to haul freight to Russia are reorganizing their activities in the wake of sanctions as customers are no longer interested in trading with Estonia's eastern neighbor.

The EU has been laying down wave after wave of sanctions against Russia since the war in Ukraine, banning the movement of goods to and from the country, which has caused trade to dry up.

The recent sanctions package entered into force on June 23 and prohibits, among other things, the transit of goods and technology through Russia to fight attempts to circumvent sanctions.

Stark Logistics has decades of experience in the field of road transport and employs a logistics specialist focusing on Russia. Kristjan Kraag, executive manager of the firm, told ERR that the company has virtually no freight going to Russia these days.

"Customers in Estonia, our haulage partners dialed back. Our volumes have fallen so much we've been forced to reorient our activities. We have trucks going to the Baltics, Scandinavia and Poland instead."

In addition to almost all goods groups being covered by sanctions, the company has not made an effort to maintain its business in Russia. The few trips we make now are largely the last loads. "A part of it is moving factory fittings out or bringing them back home so companies can wrap up," he remarked.

Kraag said the situation is the same for other similar logistics firms whose Russian freight volumes are dwindling, which causes them to restructure their activities. No one wants to work with Russia, which is becoming a niche field.

Dmitri Beloussov, head of Vervo Eesti OÜ, gave a similar description of the situation.

While the company's website still lists Russia as a destination, Vervo no longer hauls freight across Estonia's eastern border. Beloussov said it is virtually impossible to do anything in Russia.

"There is nothing happening on that heading. There are no goods we could haul to or from there," he said.

"Nothing is moving, and companies [that used to concentrate on Russian freight] are selling their trucks or developing other business avenues, hauling to Europe."

ERR did not manage to find a single transport company that is still actively hauling goods to and from Russia, while most have not decided against it on principle.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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