“This is an earthquake like we’ve never seen before,” said Ami Daniel, a co-founder of Windward, a maritime intelligence firm that advises governments. He added, “Companies are going well beyond what’s legally required and taking actions based on their own values before their customers even demand it.”

Sanctions on Russia are starting to wreak havoc on global trade, with potentially devastating consequences for energy and grain importers while also generating ripple effects across a world still struggling with pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions, AP reports.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of tankers and bulk carriers have been diverted away from the Black Sea, while dozens more have been stranded at ports and at sea unable to unload their valuable cargoes. Russia is a leading exporter of grains and a major supplier of crude oil, metals, wood and plastics — all used worldwide in a range of products and by a multitude of industries from steelmakers to car manufacturers.

Only a small handful of Russia’s 2,000 cargo and tanker ships have been sanctioned by Western powers, but freezing the assets of the country’s biggest banks means the business of importing and exporting from Russia will take a major hit. Intensifying the squeeze are companies from Apple and Nike to major shippers like Maersk abandoning the country, whose extensive trade ties with the West have been all but severed.

One potential escape valve for Russian exports is China, whose fast-growing economy is thirsty for natural resources. But China, perhaps the biggest beneficiary of globalization, so far has shown little appetite to fully back President Vladimir Putin despite abstaining from a U.N. vote condemning the land grab.

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