Lines of trucks multiply at the border between Ukraine and Poland

The number of trucks full of grain or products for export at the Ukrainian-Polish border is constantly increasing due to the increased workload of the Polish phytosanitary and veterinary services at the border.

At some crossing points, the queues reach 45 km.

Deputy Infrastructure Minister Mustafa Nayyem explains that because of the war, most goods are exported by vehicles.

The Polish direction is the most popular because the country has seaports.

“The checkpoints weren’t ready for such a loadout,” he says.

Before the crisis, the Polish phytosanitary and veterinary services received around 80 trucks a day.

Now it’s between 12 and 20 a day.

“It’s an incredibly small amount. And that, of course, is a big problem for carriers because they lose their profits by queuing,” Nayyem explains.

The Ministry of Infrastructure has calculated that such a traffic jam at the border causes 2 to 3 thousand euros in losses for a carrier per vehicle and tens of millions of dollars in losses per month for the entire sector.

Meanwhile, drivers are adapting to life online.

They hang their washed clothes on the trucks, use their toolboxes as kitchens and take their meals hidden behind the truck.

Oleksander says he has been in line for 5 days already.

The queue moves just 2-3 kilometers further each day.

He complains that there are no conditions for waiting so long, giving an example that he has trouble finding a suitable place for a toilet.

Nayyem says the Ukrainian side has offered several solutions, offering Ukrainian personnel to operate at the Polish border.

None of the possible solutions has been accepted by the Polish side so far.

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Christi C. Elwood