Road blockades and demonstrations by Polish truck drivers who believe current competition rules favor their Ukrainian counterparts have continued into their second week as union leaders call for the reintroduction of permits for Ukrainian drivers to level the playing field.
Polish road carriers protesting at the border crossings with Ukraine in Korczowa, Dorohusk, and Hrebenne are not backing down. “This is a matter of our survival,” they say.
So far, the Polish authorities have refrained from taking the necessary steps to resolve the situation, and the lines at the border are growing. The waiting time for trucks to leave Poland through the Medyka border crossing was already 73 hours on Nov. 13.
The protests have been ongoing since Nov. 6 and consist of blocking trucks from passing through the border crossings, allowing between one to five trucks to pass per hour.
Since the war with Russia, the EU has waived the obligation of Ukrainian truckers to acquire permits to drive vehicles in the EU, which has, according to the protesting Polish drivers, led to them facing unfair competition.
Former Confederation party MP Krystian Kamiński told the authorities that licenses for Ukrainian drivers must be reintroduced.
Kamiński warned that the Ukrainians are taking business from Polish drivers as a result of them being free of the licensing regime; he also claimed that Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Russians have all been engaged in setting up shell companies in Poland to drive posing as Polish domestic carriers.
According to Poland’s trucking employers’ union, the whole cross-border market with Ukraine has now been taken over by Ukrainian carriers. This may not be significant for the entire Polish market of road trucking companies, but it is noteworthy for companies in the east of Poland where several of them have specialized in Eastern European travel.