Amid looming threat of Polish border blockades, UZ asks: Why not rail?

Image: ANP/EPA. Wojtek Jargilo

The threat of Polish-Ukrainian border blockades is systemic. As road blockades can resume at any time, Ukrainian Railways (UZ) is now asking: Why not ship goods via rail?

UZ is proposing that more Ukrainian export freight be transported via rail. The operator says that it received warnings that the frequent border blockades are systemic, and that a long-term solution for freight transportation needs to be found. UZ is now calling for more freight to be transported via rail.

“Once again I want to emphasize that today the problems that arise at the Polish border are systemic in nature. Everyone is warning us about this, so please get ready. Logistics security is a very important issue. Take a closer look at our service: container, piggyback trains. We are ready to transport your cargo”, said Valeriy Tkachev, deputy commercial director at UZ.

Polish blockades

Whereas the latest large-scale and lengthy blockades ended in late April, some road blockades resumed in early June. The risk of blockades remains.

The protests have primarily targeted road crossings, leading to long traffic jams and waiting times for trucks. In spring, protestors also targeted railways and terminals. However, this seems to be a minor occurrence. Rail therefore remains a more reliable modality for Ukrainian exports.

Polish farmers and truck drivers have long engaged in blockades at Polish-Ukrainian border crossings. They are dissatisfied with what they see as unfair competition from large amounts of cheap Ukrainian truckers and grain. Following Russia’s invasion, the EU lifted permit requirements for Ukrainian truckers and allowed more Ukrainian grain to flow into the EU overland as Russia strikes Ukraine’s ports.

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Author: Dennis van der Laan

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