Ukraine seeks to unblock border with Poland, considers rerouting transport

Ukrainian truck drivers wait to cross from Poland back into Ukraine in Korczowa, Poland, on Thursday Dec. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Karl Ritter)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Ukraine is considering the rerouting of freight traffic to circumvent border blockades by Polish truckers, the country’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov has announced.

The Kyiv government official declared the ongoing protests by Polish haulers unacceptable and has insisted on their complete removal, but hinted at alternative logistic routes in the meantime.

Kubrakov said the government in Kyiv is actively working in the interests of Ukrainian truck companies, who are now contemplating rerouting their heavy freight transports through Slovakia, Hungary, or Romania.

On Tuesday, Volodymyr Balin, the vice-president of the Ukrainian Association of International Road Carriers, announced ongoing joint efforts with lawyers to resolve the blockade issue instigated by Polish transporters at the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Balin expressed hope that the ministers of development and infrastructure from Poland and Ukraine would reach an agreement. “Our only way out is to legally unblock the border as we did last week,” Balin said, noting that currently, crossings with Poland are blocked whereas those with Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary are fully operational.

According to Balin, Ukrainian carriers should prepare to change their logistic routes to ensure transportation through other countries, as the Polish-Ukrainian border could remain blocked for an extended period.

Last week, when the Dorohusk border crossing was reopened on Dec. 11, Kubrakov called for all other blockades to follow suit.

The carriers’ strike is becoming a “Gordian Knot,” tightening each day due to the inactivity of predecessors, and will be challenging to resolve, said Dariusz Klimczak, the new Polish minister of infrastructure on Monday.

Protests by Polish carriers at the border with Ukraine have been ongoing since Nov. 6. On Friday, a court overturned a decision by the mayor of Dorohusk, who last week banned the protest of Polish carriers at the border with Ukraine. Consequently, the protest was resumed on Monday. Farmers from the United Peasants also joined the drivers.

Polish entrepreneurs complain about the lack of equal access to the Ukrainian market compared to the operating capabilities of eastern carriers in Poland. The issue revolves around the removal of permits for Ukrainian entities to conduct transport, while such permits are still required for Polish companies in Ukraine.

Additionally, Ukrainian companies are not required to comply with all regulations imposed by EU norms. Slovak and Hungarian drivers also joined the protest on Monday.

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