Container shipping lines are keeping a close watch on the situation in Ukraine and are looking to safeguard employees as the Crimean port of Sevastopol is the main terminal affected by tensions with neighbouring Russia.
According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, the port mainly handles general cargo and dry bulk cargo and last year handled only 11 calls from containerships.
Nevertheless, container shipping lines say they are keeping an eye on the situation.
A Maersk Line spokesman said: “We have Maersk Line and Damco business activities in Ukraine.
“As of now we continue our scheduled business activities, the most significant being Maersk Line calling the ports of Odessa, Yuzhnyy and Illichivsk.
“We monitor the situation closely and are prepared to take the necessary measures to keep our employees and activities safe.”
CMA CGM said: “As of today, the services offered by the CMA CGM group, which operates vessels calling Odessa and Illichivsk, have not been affected by the events in Ukraine.
“Nevertheless, the group remains watchful and regularly consults its local agencies in order to ensure the safety of its employees, crews, agencies and ships.”
A spokesman for Turkish shipping line Arkas Line, which has a service calling in Odessa, said there had been no disruption to its service or port operations but it was also keeping an eye on the situation.
Data from Lloyd’s List Intelligence shows that Odessa is by far and away the country’s busiest container port in terms of vessel calls.
In 2013, it handled calls from 445 containerships. Illichivsk ranked in second place with 157 vessel calls.
The third-busiest box port was Yuzhnyy which handled 60 container vessels last year.
In 2012, the latest year for which annual figures are available, Odessa handled 425,994 teu, a 1% increase on-year.
In terms of deadweight capacity, Odessa handled 15.8m dwt in 2013 and Illichivsk 9.3m dwt.
For the latest news on the situation in Ukraine see Lloyd’s List