Russia’s war in Ukraine has weighed on container traffic and port activity, according to the think tank the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

The conflict in Ukraine led the value of global trade to fall by 2.8% in March 2022, compared to the previous month, and has caused an increase in container ship congestion, according to estimates from the Kiel Trade Indicator published on April 6. 


Exports from the EU are expected to fall by 5.6% in March, compared with a 3.4% decline in the US. The think tank estimates that container freight traffic at Russia’s three largest ports, St Petersburg, Vladivostok and Novorossiysk has already slumped by half.

“Real distortions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by the West, as well as a high level of uncertainty among companies with relations to Russia, are noticeably setting back March trade,” said Vincent Stamer, head of Kiel the Trade Indicator.

Lockdown in China’s main port city, Shanghai, after a Covid-19 outbreak are not yet clearly reflected in the trade figures, the think tank noted. The value of exports from China were 0.9% lower in March than February.