For example, data from MarineTraffic, a platform that shows the live location of ships around the world using those onboard tracking systems, indicates that traffic from major Russian ports has declined after the invasion, but has not declined. The number of container ships, tankers and bulk carriers – the three main types of ships carrying energy and consumer products – entering and leaving Russian ports had fallen by about 23 percent in March and April compared to the previous year.
“The reality is that the sanctions haven’t been that hard to get around,” said Georgios Hatzimanolis, who analyzes global shipping for MarineTraffic.
Tracking by Lloyd’s List Intelligence, a maritime information service, shows similar trends. The number of bulk carriers, carrying loose cargo such as grain, coal and fertilizer, sailing from Russian ports in the five weeks after the invasion was only 6 percent lower than in the five weeks before the invasion, according to the agency.
In the weeks following the invasion, Russian trade with China and Japan was generally stable, while the number of bulk carriers bound for South Korea, Egypt and Turkey increased, their data shows.
“There’s still a lot of traffic back and forth,” said Sebastian Villyn, head of risk and compliance data at Lloyd’s List Intelligence. “We haven’t seen a drop yet.”
Those numbers contrast somewhat with statements from world leaders, who have emphasized the crippling nature of the sanctions. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Thursday that the Russian economy was “absolutely faltering,” pointing to estimates it will see a 10 percent contraction and double-digit inflation this year.
Earlier this week, Ms. Yellen said the Treasury Department was still discussing extending a sanctions waiver that would allow US financial institutions and investors to continue processing Russian bond payments. During a Senate hearing, she said officials were actively assessing the “consequences and spillovers” of the permit’s expiration on May 25, which would likely trigger Russia’s first default on its foreign debt in more than a century.