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Ukraine weathers $660 million Polish border blockade with new maritime channels

The Polish border blockade temporarily led to Ukraine’s export/import losses of $660 million, but a new maritime corridor helps compensate losses and restore trade, Ukraine’s National Bank says.
Ukrainian trucks blocked on the border from Poland to Ukraine amid Polish truckers’ border blockade. December 2023. Source: slovoidilo
Ukraine weathers $660 million Polish border blockade with new maritime channels

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) reports that during the first month of the border blockade by Polish farmers earlier this year, Ukraine’s direct losses amounted to $500 million in imports and $160 million in exports. However, these losses were partially offset: import losses through increased supplies via other routes, and export losses by launching and ramping up a new maritime corridor.

Following late last year’s end of a Polish truckers’ blockade disrupting Ukrainian aid and goods supplies, including drone parts, Polish farmers launched nationwide protests in February, blocking checkpoints, affecting truck movement and disrupting ports and roads. This action benefitted Russia by undermining Ukraine’s economy amid its two-year war. By late April, the protests were largely over.

According to the NBU, the fully operational new maritime corridor will enable Ukraine not only to compensate for losses from the border blockades and grain licensing, but also to regain its traditional foreign markets. These trends are already being observed, with Ukrainian food products returning to Asian and African markets, and metallurgical products to Asian and American markets.

The NBU assumes that the Polish border blockades will end in the second quarter of 2024 and will not lead to significant losses for exporters. The negative impact on importing companies will also be short-lived and compensated for by utilizing stocks and making up for delayed deliveries in subsequent periods.

On May 13, Michał Kołodziejczak, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland, noted that the farmers’ protests are largely over. He stated that the occasional protests still happening are organized to political order and carried out by people being used to campaign ahead of the European Parliament election.

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