19 Mar 2024 18:45

EBA asks Ukrainian authorities to address problem of perishable goods at Polish border

MOSCOW. March 19 (Interfax) - The European Business Association (EBA) has urged Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal and presidential office chief Andrei Yermak to take measures to speed up the transportation of perishable goods across the border between Ukraine and Poland by reducing it to seven days.

"Due to the protesters' actions on both sides, the expected delivery time has increased by an additional 11 days for non-food products and 2-7 days for food products, especially perishable goods. The situation remains unresolved and unpredictable," Ukrainian media quoted the EBA as saying in a statement.

The protesters' actions are affecting both exporters and importers, the EBA said. Among the companies reporting that the strikes have affected their operations, 66% are exporters, and 91% are importers, it said.

Goods transported by trucks often have a limited shelf life, and therefore, any downtime involves significant financial losses, the EBA said. It estimated the overall losses an average company has incurred since the start of the strikes at almost 700,000 euros, and 98% companies polled by the association said their transportation costs have increased, it said.

Moreover, in addition to strikes in Poland, some Ukrainian transport operators have also started blocking imports into Ukraine, it said.

"Recently, they have been blocking cargo imported into Ukraine, perishable goods (fresh meat and fish, vegetables, and fruits), directly after the customs zone, practically on the roads. By blocking the trucks, the strikers cause losses to Ukrainian importing companies and harm European manufacturing companies," it said.

The EBA insisted on ensuring the free movement of cargo, particularly perishable and humanitarian goods and fuel, across the Polish-Ukrainian border. The association appealed to the Ukrainian prime minister and the presidential office chief to provide trucks carrying perishable goods with unimpeded access to the border from both the Ukrainian and Polish side.

Sergei Derkach, Ukrainian deputy restoration minister, said last week that even though he hoped that the situation on the Polish-Ukrainian border might improve following intergovernmental negotiations on March 28, he would still recommend that transport operators explore alternative routes.