Polish Freight Carriers Block Ukrainian Border Crossing Over Unfair Trade

In the latest backlash to preferential trade for Ukraine, Polish freight carriers have been blocking one of the Poland-Ukraine border crossings over the past week.

The protesters, who have rejected an offer from the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry to allow Polish drivers to bring EU goods to Ukraine without permits, have demanded the reinstatement of the mutual entry permit program which was suspended when the war in Ukraine broke out, Notes from Poland reports.

According to the report, several dozen Polish protesters are only allowing five lorries per hour to enter Poland from Ukraine at the crossing in Dorohusk - leaving truck drivers waiting for between six and ten days.

Kyiv first sent a note of protest to the Polish foreign ministry and claimed that the demands of the protesting carriers were unjustified. It later stated that as of 8 May, Polish firms would be temporarily allowed to carry out transports from any EU country to Ukraine without the relevant permits and vehicle environmental standards requirements. -Notes from Poland

At the moment, more than 5,000 lorries cannot cross our largest border crossing. With limited capacity and blockade of seaports, smooth distribution of cargo is impossible," said Ukraine's infrastructure minister Serhiy Derkach, adding "We are grateful to our Polish friends for their continued support in resisting the aggressor and look forward to further dialogue to unblock the border. We have taken the first step, we look forward to the next one."

As we noted last month, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria have come under fire over bans on Ukrainian food imports, after the leader of Poland's conservative Law and Justice party (PiS)  Jarosław Kaczyński, announced that a range of agricultural products such as grain, fruits, dairy, vegetables and poultry meat would be stopped from entering Poland from Ukraine. The decision has come as a result of the glut of grain from Ukraine and the flood of Ukrainian products onto the Polish market. In addition, Hungary and Slovakia have enacted similar measures, and there are reports that Romania and Bulgaria may also close their border to certain Ukrainian food imports.

If Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Poland all block Ukrainian food product transit, it would effectively result in a geographical blockade in Europe, as the four countries border Ukraine.

More via Notes from Poland;

The protesters, however, are not satisfied with Ukraine’s concessions. Rafał Mekler, regional leader of the far-right Confederation party and the owner of a trucking company protesting in Dorohusk, noted that Kyiv’s decision to suspend the permits shows that “the Ukrainian side interprets as it wishes what it has agreed to”.

We don’t need permits since the EU abolished such requirements as a result of a deal with Ukraine,” he told Notes from Poland, referring to a deal struck between EU and Ukraine last year.

“Suddenly it turns out the permits are needed, [which] we knew earlier, because our carriers are getting fines for [lack of them], and many are being harassed in Ukraine,” he added.

Łukasz Białasz, a self-employed lorry driver who has been carrying freight to Ukraine for 13 years, told Notes from Poland that Polish transport firms have been receiving fines in Ukraine for lack of permits, amounting to €800.

Polish carriers claim that following European and Ukrainian regulations that came into force last summer, rates for freight have collapsed after Ukrainian companies were granted nearly unrestricted access to the Polish market.

"At the moment the rates have been so squeezed that profitability is disappearing," said Białasz. "Ukrainian carriers who have been operating in this market for a long time also object to the lack of permits. They also want the permits to be reinstated, as this regulates the rates on the market."

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from ZeroHedge.com)

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