Türkiye has appeared to halt the transit of sanctioned goods through its territory to Russia, the Russian business paper Kommersant reported Thursday, citing executives of Russian logistics companies.
Kommersant reported that several managers said earlier this week that Turkish customs authorities had started rejecting the transit of goods to Russia and Belarus where declarations included customs codes of items named on a European Union list of sanctioned goods.
The executives said that Turkish customs officials cited a government directive to halt transit, but there had been no formal public government announcement of any change in Türkiye’s transit policy on goods going to Russia or Belarus.
Kommersant also cited some logistics executives who said there were broader restrictions on the transit of goods destined for Russia and Belarus through Türkiye, with only the export of Turkish-produced goods allowed.
“Turkish customs authorities on the night of March 6-7 began to reject transit declarations for goods that are on the EU sanctions list and are transported to the territory of Russia and the Republic of Belarus, referring to the government’s order,” Yury Davar, head of logistics services company Novelco’s sales department, was quoted as saying.
“But, according to our information, the orders of the official bodies were not announced.”
“I would like to clearly define the essence of the issue: for goods with non-sanctioned TNVED (custom code) codes, transit through Türkiye is possible, their export from Türkiye to Russia is also possible,” emphasizes Dmitry Arzhanykh, co-founder of the SLK group. “But sending transit cargo with sanctioned TNVED codes is impossible.”
According to a source familiar with power plant imports, it is currently impossible to enter Russia's customs database with certain TNVED codes when re-exporting. However, only transit is prohibited, meaning it is possible to clear customs and transport the goods further. Igor Rebelsky, the founder of VIG Trans, stated that the customs system in Türkiye does not allow the selection of the country of destination as Russia or Belarus when registering codes. Additionally, Georgy Vlastopulo, CEO of Optimalog logistics, reported that as of March 8, Turkish authorities have prohibited the supply of any products to Russia, with the exception of domestically produced goods. Vlastopulo added that the registration of transit declarations for sea and air cargo from Türkiye to Russia is currently blocked.
Türkiye emerged last year as a major hub for the transport of Western goods to Russia, and for the export of products covered under Russia's multibillion-dollar "parallel imports" scheme. The scheme allows imports of Western brands without the license holders' permission. The main goods supplied are small household appliances and electronics, food, clothing and spare parts, Novelco's Davar also said. The report suggests the monthly transit of goods through Türkiye can be $200 million-400 million.
The Russian paper said that while the import of those goods will not be completely closed, the price will go up since now the cargo will have to be cleared through customs with payment of all taxes and fees, registered as Turkish and transported to Russia.
According to Turkish partners of Russian importers, the developments are related to the pressure from the EU.
Head of the customs and logistics broker KBT Yulia Shlenskaya told a Russian newspaper that the message of their Turkish counterparty says: “There are no legal restrictions on transit to Russia. However, there are obstacles at the level of the electronic system. We, as customs brokers, are trying to conduct a dialogue with the representative office of the Ministry of Customs, but there is no answer yet.”