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Ukraine ships first load of trucks stuck at Polish border by train

by Nate Ostiller December 8, 2023 1:16 PM 2 min read
Workers maintain trains from Ukraine's state-owned railway, Ukrzaliznytsia, at the Kyiv Rail depot on Nov. 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's state-owned railway Ukrzaliznytsia shipped 23 trucks by train that had been stuck at the Polish border amid the ongoing protest and blockade by Polish truckers, the company's press service announced on Dec. 7.

Once across the Polish border, the trucks unloaded from the trains and continued their journey by road.

Polish truckers began protesting and blockading border crossings with Ukraine in early November, saying that a high number of Ukrainian drivers entering Poland are hauling goods from Poland to other countries, undercutting local businesses that cannot match lower Ukrainian prices.

Ukrainian officials and industry representatives deny the accusations.

Ukrainian trucks have been stuck at the border, facing lines that stretch for kilometers and wait times that last for days.

Slovak truckers have also joined the protest, intermittently blocking border crossings between Slovakia and Ukraine.

The proposal to transport trucks by train could be a way to circumvent the blockade, as negotiations have so far failed to achieve a lasting resolution to the issue.

Interfax-Ukraine reported on Dec. 7 that the first batch of 23 trucks would be sent by train as a test run of the system, according to Ukrzaliznytsia's Deputy Director of Commercial Work, Valerii Tkachov.

"As soon as this test train passes and everything is fine, we will launch it en masse," said Tkachov.

The train carried the trucks from Sknyliv, Ukraine, to Slawkow, Poland. The truck drivers were transported by bus across the border to the unloading zone in Poland. Ukrzaliznytsia's press release said that similar plans will be organized for the opposite direction.

There are still some details to be worked out, it added.

Throughout November, Ukrzaliznytsia transported 14 million tons of cargo, a 33.8% increase compared to the same period last year, Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry reported on Dec. 7.

This is "an absolute record" since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion against Ukraine in February 2022, the ministry wrote.

Ukrainian retailers face big losses, disruptions due to Polish border blockade
As the Polish trucker blockade of Ukrainian haulers heads toward the one-month mark, the toll on Ukraine’s businesses is adding up. As of Dec. 4, around 2,500 trucks are stuck at the Ukrainian border with Poland waiting to cross because of the protests, which started on Nov. 6
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