14 Apr 2023 15:12

Ukrainian grain transportation by rail decreasing as cars amass on borders with Poland, Hungary

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) - Ukrainian Railways has been observing a decline in the amount of grain transported to the western borders in April, in particular, because of slow cargo clearance on the Polish and Hungarian borders.

Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Railways' Department of Commerce Valery Tkachev provided the statistical information at a meeting with market actors on Thursday, the Ukrainian media said.

In his words, Ukrainian Railways transported 972,900 tonnes of exported grain on the first 12 days of April, including 709,200 tonnes to ports and 263,650 tonnes to checkpoints on the western border.

The largest amount of grain was destined for Odessa Port (242,200 tonnes), Chernomorsk Port (168,800), and Chernomorsk Port Export (129,700), he said.

Given the decreased amount of grain transportation to border checkpoints, the daily transfer of grain cars dropped 29% to 416 cars between March 31 and April 12, Tkachev said. An average waiting time is eight days for all cargo and seven days for grain, he said.

The workload on 14 checkpoints, including 12 clearing grain, remains unequal. The largest number of grain cars (1,047) has amassed at the Izov-Hrubieszow checkpoint on the Polish border. There are 921 cars waiting to cross the border at the Batievo-Eperjeske checkpoint on the Hungarian border, alongside 422 at the Yagodin-Dorohusk checkpoint on the Polish border, 169 at the Chop-Cierna checkpoint on the Slovak border, and 138 at the Vadul-Siret - Dornesti checkpoint on the Romanian border.

"We are seeing very short lines of grain cars at other checkpoints," he said.

The overall grain transportation amounted to 913,000 tonnes in April (which is 21.9% of 4.245 million tonnes of total cargo). The average daily transportation stand sat 78,000 tonnes this April.

Representatives of Odessa Railways, a regional branch of Ukrainian Railways, said at the meeting that transportation to ports remained dynamic against the backdrop of problems at ground checkpoints.

The situation is the most difficult on the Polish border, where plenty of cars have amassed on the Polish side. The clearance of such cars is slow because of stricter veterinarian control, the meeting participants said.

"The situation is difficult. We are waiting for its resolution with the assistance of the Polish Ministry of Agricultural Policy," Tkachev said.

Ukrainian Grain Association President Nikolai Gorbachev said at the meeting that the way to transit grain through Poland had been approved and formalized.

He assured meeting participants that, according to Ukrainian Railways, the pace of grain exports would not reduce and at least another 10 million tonnes of grain, including about 1.5 million tonnes of wheat, would be exported by the end of the current marketing year.