Maersk Plans to Sell Investment in Russian Terminal Operator

Maersk to sell investment in Russian terminal operator
Global Ports operates the Saint Petersburg container terminal (Global Ports Group)

Published Mar 11, 2022 12:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

A.P. Moller – Maersk is joining the long list of western companies seeking to divest investments in Russia. In a brief statement confirmed by Global Ports Group, Maersk said it wished to divest its minority interest in Russia’s largest terminal operator. When the investment was made in 2012, it was highlighted as the largest foreign direct investment in the Russian maritime sector. 

APM Terminals joins major western brands ranging from McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola that all said they would suspend their operations in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this week Shell announced that it was closing operations in Russia and would seek to divest its interests following other majors in the oil and gas industry including BP which also announced that it would suspend its investments. Maersk was one of the first shipping companies to announce it would suspend bookings to Russia, but the line continues to send ships to Russian ports.

In 2012, APM Terminals agreed to acquire a 37.5 percent stake in Global Port from Transportation Investments Holding Limited, one of Russia’s largest privately owned transportation groups, and jointly the two companies were managing Global Ports. The company operates six terminals in Russia, including the Saint Petersburg container terminal, which is one of the largest in Russia, as well as terminals in Finland. The group’s main business is container handling, having moved 1.6 million TEU in 2021, as well as other types of cargo, including bulk, cars, and other types of roll-on roll-off cargo. Reuters at the time of the acquisition estimated its value at $860 million.

According to Global Ports, APM Terminals will continue to be represented on the company’s board of directors and fulfill its obligations until the divestment can be completed. Maersk, like the other western companies, may face challenges in actually completing the divestment. Russia has been rumored to be planning to bar international companies from selling their investments. Global Ports’ shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange but trading has been suspended.

At the same time, while Maersk announced it was ceasing all future bookings for Russian cargo, the shipping giant is continuing to send vessels to Russian ports including Saint Petersburg. Later today, the 3,600 TEU Vayenga Maersk was due to arrive at the Baltic port inbound from Felixstowe in the UK. Maersk is not alone in continuing service as earlier today the CMA CGM Neva departed Saint Petersburg bound for Wilhelmshaven in Germany. According to the companies, they are working to complete prior bookings and they expect to suspend service once the backlogs have been completed both for inbound bookings and exports from Russia.