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Media: Poland asks EU for over $1 billion to increase Ukrainian grain transit

by Martin Fornusek August 4, 2023 2:43 PM 3 min read
A member of the Polish AgroUnia farmers' union spects unsold grain storns in Sedziejowo, Poland, April 17, 2023. (Photo credit: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Poland had asked the European Union for an investment of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) so that Warsaw can increase its capacity for transiting Ukrainian grain, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported on Aug. 4.

As the PAP reminded, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced several months ago that the EU will provide funds for this purpose, but did not reveal specifics. Polish officials presented a detailed description in Brussels of the financial support needed to expand the transit operations, the news agency wrote.

According to a document obtained by the PAP, Poland says it needs around 500 million euros ($550 million) to increase the capacity for truck transport at the Dorohusk-Jagodzin, Hrebenne-Rawa Ruska, and Korczowa-Krakowiec border crossings.

This tranche should also be allocated to expanding the railway infrastructure at the Polish border city of Przemysl.

The other half of the funds should be used for the modernization of railway crossings, building new terminals for trucks, and construction of freight traffic control infrastructure at the border, the PAP reported.

"For a year and a half, we wanted to increase the transit of Ukrainian grain to third countries, especially to Africa," Polish Ambassador to the EU Andrzej Sados told the PAP.

"However, this requires investments and we repeated our concrete requests to the (European) Commission to increase the capacity of the infrastructure," he added.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 17 – Black Sea grain deal is dead. What can Ukraine do?
Episode #17 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to the Black Sea grain deal, how Russia weaponized it, and ultimately killed it. Host Anastasiia Lapatina is joined by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Alexander Query. Listen to the audio version of the podcast on Apple, S…

Sados also said that Poland facilitated the transit of record-breaking 260,000 metric tons of wheat and corn in June, which is more than double the volume transited in March (120,000 metric tons).

Following Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and its attacks against Ukrainian port infrastructure, Kyiv has been seeking alternative routes for its agricultural exports.

Ukraine's grain exports are vital to the world's food supply. Before the full-scale invasion, Ukraine was the fifth-largest wheat exporter globally. The grain deal had allowed for nearly 33 million metric tons of food to be exported through Ukrainian ports while it was in force, according to the U.N.

The EU pledged to increase the capacity of its "solidarity lanes," which facilitated the transit of more than 45 million metric tons of Ukrainian agricultural products since May 2022. Several member states, such as Romania and Croatia, have also agreed to use their infrastructure to aid Ukraine's exports.

Both Poland and Romania are among the five EU members who requested the European Commission to ban the domestic sale of Ukrainian grain products in these countries, currently set to expire on Sep. 15. However, this measure did not restrict the transit of Ukrainian produce through their territories.

Polish PM: Poland will ‘not open border’ to Ukrainian grain if EU ban not extended
Poland will not open its borders to Ukrainian grain imports unless the EU ban is not extended beyond Sep. 15, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on July 19.
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