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Polish carriers threaten to close all Ukraine border crossings

Polish truckers plan a 2-month strike due to “increased competition from Ukrainian hauliers” after Ukraine lifted permit requirements in 2022. Ukraine has already initiated a meeting with Poland and the European Commission.
Korczowa border crossing, Poland. Credit: FP
Polish carriers threaten to close all Ukraine border crossings

A major protest by Polish truck drivers threatens to shut down all border crossings between Poland and Ukraine starting on 3 November, Ukravtoprom reported.

According to the statement, the first protest assemblies near the Korczowa border crossing have already been agreed with the local authorities and approved for 10 a.m. on 3 November.”

If earlier job actions targeted only one border crossing, this time “they plan to block all available entries from Ukraine,” the International Transport Association of Ukraine said.

The strike, planned to last two months, aims to draw the attention of the Polish authorities to the situation in the country’s transport industry. In particular, to push back against increased competition from Ukrainian hauliers after the liberalisation of laws governing international transport between Ukraine and the EU.

Polish carriers demand that Ukraine reintroduce permits for transportation that were cancelled under the transport visa-free regime. The agreement on road freight transport signed in June 2022 eliminated the need for Ukrainian carriers to obtain permits for bilateral and transit transportation to EU states.

After the signing of the agreement, the number of carriers crossing the border towards the EU increased by 53% in the first year, and the number of crossings increased by 43%.

Polish carrier’s plan also demands toughening of ECMT (European Conference of Transport Ministers) transportation rules for foreign carriers; the inability to register companies in Poland if the company’s finances are not in the EU; a separate queue in the E-queue for cars with EU license plates; a separate queue at all borders for empty trucks; access to the “Shliakh” system.

The “Shliakh” system allows male drivers or volunteers to legally cross the border under martial law. The system was primarily created to eliminate corruption in the issuance of permits and to simplify border crossings.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has already initiated a meeting with Poland and the European Commission due to the threat of border closure, European Pravda reported.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure wants to discuss with the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure and the European Commission’s Mobility Directorate the implementation of memorandums on the capacity of Ukrainian-Polish checkpoints.

“Our position is that such strikes and blockades harm everyone: both Ukrainian and Polish carriers,” said Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development Serhiy Derkach.

He noted that Ukraine is grateful to the Polish people for their continued support in the face of a full-scale war and is ready for a dialogue where the interests of carriers from both countries will be equally represented. The meeting with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport is scheduled for 31 October.

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