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Ukraine to transport trucks stuck at Polish border by train

Ukraine’s state railway company, Ukrzaliznytsia, has started transporting 23 trucks stuck at the Polish border due to an ongoing blockade by Polish truck drivers.
Long queues at the border between Ukraine and Poland due to the protest of Polish carriers. Credit: AFP

Ukraine’s state railway company, Ukrzaliznytsia, has started transporting 23 trucks stuck at the Polish border due to an ongoing blockade by Polish truck drivers, as stated in a Facebook post by Ukrzaliznytsia on 7 December.

As of the morning of 6 December, approximately 2,950 trucks have been queued at the Poland-Ukraine border due to an ongoing blockade by Polish truckers.

“Ukrzaliznytsia has sent the first container train with trucks to Poland. The company worked on the project for two weeks,” the post stated.

The train consists of 23 platforms loaded with 13 tractors with semi-trailers following the Sknyliv, Ukraine to Slawkow, Poland route. Customs and border procedures take place at the Izov-Hrubieszow rail crossing point.

According to Ukrzaliznytsia, some formalities around quickly crossing the Polish border still exist, and specialists are working on speeding up the process. Similar return trips are also being organized, with trucks traveling onward from Slawkow by road to their destinations after rail transport across the border.

Shuttle buses will transfer truck drivers to and from rail loading/offloading points.

  • On 31 October, a major protest by Polish truck drivers threatened to shut down all border crossings between Poland and Ukraine starting on November 3rd, which marked the beginning of the border blockade crisis.
  • On 6 November, dozens of Polish truck drivers blocked three border crossings with Ukraine, and expanded it to a fourth crossing. The Polish protesters demanded the return of permits for Ukrainian carriers, tougher EU transportation requirements, prohibiting non-EU company registration, access to Ukraine’s Shlyakh system for eligible drivers, separate border queues for EU cars in eCherha, and dedicated lanes for empty vehicles.
  • On 14 November, talks between Ukraine and Poland at the countries’ border failed to resolve the strike, and four days later, nearly 3,000 trucks had congested at the Polish-Ukrainian border.
  • The organizers of the Polish trucker strike at the Ukrainian border had close ties to Russia and supported Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
  • The protest claimed its first casualty on 22 November, when a 56-year-old Ukrainian truck driver who was waiting to cross the border into Ukraine died.
  • On 27 November, Poland presented Ukraine with carrier demands: implementation of commercial permits for Ukrainian companies, except those transporting humanitarian/military goods, plus suspension and verification of licenses for companies opened after the Ukraine war outbreak.

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