Sanctions against Russia: road transport in the EU and access to ports of vessels

Road transport by Russian and Belarusian road transport companies in the EU and access to EU ports of vessels registered under the Russian flag is prohibited.

Amendments to the Council regulations concerning EU sanctions against Russia (EU 833/2014) and EU sanctions against Belarus (EU 765/2006) (EU) 2022/576 (layout.types.url.description) (EU) 2022/577(layout.types.url.description) entered into force on 9 April 2022. They prohibit road transport undertakings established in Russia and Belarus from transporting goods by road within the territory of the Union, including in transit.

In addition, after 16 April 2022, the regulation concerning EU sanctions against Russia prohibits access to ports in the territory of the Union from any vessel registered under the flag of Russia. This also applies to vessels that have changed their Russian flag or their registration to the flag or register of any other State after 24 February 2022.

Derogations from transport prohibition

Both provisions include certain direct derogations from the transport prohibition. Competent authorities (in Finland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs) may also grant an authorisation permitting transport. An authorisation may only be granted for certain cases specified in more detail in the provisions.  Such authorisations may relate to

a) transport of certain fuels, industrial raw materials and metals

b) transport of certain pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilisers

(c) transport for humanitarian purposes.

With regard to maritime transport, derogation from the regulation concerning the imposed sanctions may apply to transport of nuclear fuel and other goods strictly necessary for the functioning of civil nuclear capabilities.

Content of sanctions to be carefully reviewed

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs advises businesses to review the content of the sanctions carefully:

If a derogation from the prohibitions is not possible based on the regulations, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, as the competent authority, cannot authorise any such derogation. Due to a number of inquiries and applications related to the sanctions against Russia, there is a backlog in the handling of issues concerning the sanctions and export authorisations. A careful reading of the set guidelines before any application or other form of contact will streamline the processing of matters and help reduce the backlog.

Submitting authorisation applications

Authorisations must be submitted by the Finnish company or a company established in another EU Member State (or an authorised agent) to which the authorisation applies.

In future, authorisations will be applied for via the e-services of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs(layout.types.url.description).  The e-services will be up and running by the end of April.  Before that, applications will be processed only on imperative grounds of urgency in the Ministry’s Export Control Unit, which can be reached by e-mail at kpo-40@formin.fi. A derogation must be granted before the transport arrives in Finland.

An authorisation may be granted on a case-by-case basis in situations where it is necessary to use a Russian or Belarusian transport company or a vessel under the Russian flag and when the Ministry for Foreign Affairs deems the derogation justified.

The authorisation application must include the following information:

  • A list of the products for which derogation laid down in the regulations is being applied for (the products must be included on the list of products permitted by the derogations from the sanctions and the cargo must not include products other than those allowed by the derogation for which the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted an authorisation)
  • With regard to road transport, sufficiently detailed information on the transport undertaking and the planned border crossing point and a schedule to enable easy identification at the border
  • With regard to maritime transport, information on the vessels to be used
  • The applicant’s own justifications for the application and, in particular, a justification for why it is necessary to use a Russian or Belarusian transport undertaking or a vessel sailing under the Russian flag.
  • The duration of the authorisation, i.e. the date when the company no longer needs the authorisation.
  • Other prohibitions and restrictions based on the regulations concerning the sanctions will also be examined in connection with the consideration of the authorisation application.

The applicant must provide sufficient information on these matters.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs may cancel the authorisation, for example, if changes are made to the regulations concerning the sanctions.

Authorisations granted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be valid only as long as European Union legislation so allows. If the European Union adopts new legislation under which a derogation permitting authorisation is removed, the authorisation may no longer be used even if the Ministry for Foreign Affairs does not separately cancel the authorisation.