April 17, 2018 / 3:12 PM / 8 days ago

Rusal suspends exports via Russia's biggest container operator: TransContainer CEO

MOSCOW, April 17 (Reuters) - Russia’s largest freight container operator, TransContainer said on Tuesday Russian aluminium giant Rusal had suspended exports through TransContainer’s system after Rusal was hit by U.S. sanctions

“They (Rusal) do not know what to do yet, what is going on with them; that is why all transportation operations are suspended,” TransContainer’s chief executive Petr Baskakov told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday.

According to his estimate, Rusal had been shipping 25-30 percent of its exports via TransContainer. It is considering redirecting these volumes to other markets now, he said, and while it works through that process had suspended pending shipments.

Rusal and its major shareholder Oleg Deripaska were included earlier this month on a U.S. sanctions blacklist. That has spread fear among many of the firm’s customers, creditors and partners who fear they could be hit by sanctions too through association with Rusal, which is the world’s second largest aluminium producer.

Major Japanese trading houses asked Rusal to stop shipping refined aluminium and other products in light of the U.S. sanctions and are scrambling to secure metal elsewhere, industry sources said.

TransContainer deputy chief executive, Viktor Markov told reporters that the company will consult lawyers about the resumption of work with Rusal.

“We are exploring different options for further cooperation with Rusal,” Markov added.

A source at one of Russia’s railway operators, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that his company has sharply reduced operations with Rusal because the aluminium producer is rescinding its requests for shipments to export customers. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov Writing by Polina Devitt Editing by Christian Lowe)

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