Escalations in Ukraine cause a need for tighter customer dialogue
“The conflict in Ukraine has further escalated and my thoughts are with the millions of innocent people deeply affected by this crisis,” says Xavier Leroi, Chief Customer Officer at Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
Dialogue is key
Over the past three weeks, Wallenius Wilhelmsen has been in close dialogue with customers to find solutions for cargo on the water or scheduled for transportation in and out of Russia and Belarus.
On February 24, Wallenius Wilhelmsen decided to discontinue all operations in and out of Russia and Belarus. “Last week, we decided to officially suspend operation in Russia and Belarus,” says Leroi who stresses that the company continues to have close contact with the employees in Russia. “They have not asked for this to happen. Still, it was important for us as a stock-listed company to make the statement that we suspended operations. We are a responsible company adhering to the sanctions set by the Norwegian government. We continue to do our utmost to safeguard and deliver value to our customers and stakeholders, both now and for the long run.”
Questions to be answered
Some of the questions handled over the past weeks are how do we assist our employees in the affected areas, how do the sanctions impact our business, what are our customers’ needs, which legal considerations should we make, and what is our responsibility towards all our stakeholders?
Suspension takes effect
Suspending operations in Russia and Belarus means that Wallenius Wilhelmsen has stopped quoting new business and accepting new bookings in and out of Russia and Belarus until further notice.
“We do not accept cargo on the water to Russia and Belarus on our bill of lading, or waiting at a transshipment port with a port of final destination being in Russia or Belarus,” says Leroi.
“We accept change of destinations and facilitate delivery to alternative ports, but our documentation can no longer show that a Russian entity is the receiver of a shipment. We will not move cargo to a country near Russia if we suspect that the final destination is Russia or Belarus.”
If customers have shipments in breach of sanctions, or if shipments are disrupted by any of the above measures, Wallenius Wilhelmsen will work on a case-by-case basis to find the best solution.