11 Dec 2023 13:25

Ukrainian Railways intends to launch regular truck piggyback service to Poland

MOSCOW. Dec 11 (Interfax) - Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia) is planning to launch regular transportation of trucks by rail from Ukraine to Poland, Ukrainian media reported, citing an announcement from the railway operator on its Telegram channel.

The operator announced the arrival of the first shipment of trucks by rail in Poland.

"The Ukrainian and Polish sides have agreed all issues regarding transportation and clearance of customs and border procedures. Next, the trucks will head to their destinations by road," the Ukrzaliznytsia telegram channel says.

The company adds that it plans to schedule shipments regularly going forward and use modernized platform rolling stock.

Ukrainian Railways said that its piggyback train for moving trucks between Ukraine and Poland is running on the Sknilov (Ukraine) - Slawkow (Poland) route

The first of these trains was sent to Poland on December 7. In this way, Ukrainian exporters are hoping to solve the problems their trucks encounter crossing the Ukrainian-Polish border, some of whose checkpoints have been blocked by Polish carriers for over a month.

Traffic through three checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Polish border, Yagodin-Dorohusk, Krakovets-Korczowa and Rava Ruska - Hrebenne, has been partially blocked since November 6, due to a protest by Polish carriers. It was originally due to end on December 3, and then January 3. The blockade of the Yagodin-Dorohusk crossing point has been extended through February 1, 2024, Rafal Mekler, the leader of the Polish truckers blocking the border, said on social media on November 22.

As of November 22, the blockade extended to a fourth border checkpoint, Shehyni-Medyka. Queues for entry in front of blocked checkpoints on the Polish side stretched up to 40 km.

The situation for the Ukrainian agro-industrial complex, which exports more than 70% of its agricultural products, is becoming dangerous in light of problems with transportation through Poland, Ukrainian First Deputy Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Taras Vysotsky said.

One of the Polish protest organizers' primary demands is a return to the practice of issuing permits for Ukrainian cargo carriers (which was abolished under the current "transport visa-free" regime) and a reduction in their number to the level prior to February 2022, when up to 200,000 permits were issued per year. In addition, carriers want empty Polish trucks returning from Ukraine to Poland to be able to cross the border without waiting in line for days. Polish carriers are also demanding stricter transportation rules under ECMT multilateral permits. According to a number of representatives from the Polish transport industry, the work of Ukrainian carriers on the European market is causing a collapse in tariffs for cargo transportation.

Ukrainian carriers transport goods mainly from/to Ukraine, and not between European countries. Their work cannot influence freight rates in Europe. At the same time, most of the demands from Polish carriers, according to the Ukrainian side, are impossible to fulfill.