The Ukraine crisis is beginning to have an impact on road freight.

Although reports are unclear, it appears that protestors are attempting to stop trucks driving into Belarus from Poland at the crossing point at Koroszczyn. The area is the location of a number of intermodal terminals that interface with the largely rail-based Eurasian Landbridge services. Although there are reports of queues of vehicles, it seems road freight is still capable of moving between Poland and Belarus, if slowly. The protestors are said to be especially targeting Russian registered vehicles and those they believe are carrying cargo to Russia. The consignments largely seem to be food.

It is being suggested locally that the Polish Government is considering closing the crossing-point to Belarus as an extension of the sanctions regime against both Russia and Belarus. At present Poland is pressing other nations within the EU for tougher sanctions but Germany and Italy are resisting.

Up until now, the Eurasian Landbridge has been working normally, not least as it largely avoids Ukraine. If cargoes cannot be picked up from the Polish/Belarus border, they have the option of continuing by rail to Duisburg in Germany and some other intermodal terminals. Presumably, these cargoes will not be embargoed as they carry loads either originating in China or the economies of Europe.

Reports from freight forwarders and other logistics service providers indicate possible problems with services. For example, the digital road freight forwarder, sennder, is reporting that the war may interrupt the flow of drivers, with Russian and Belarussian drivers possibly having problems with visas or feeling unwelcome. However, they believe that Ukrainian drivers will return to working for large European fleets in the medium-term.

Generally, there is a violent downturn in the number of consignments in and out of Russia and Belarus. For example, DB Schenker reports that it “have decided to temporarily suspend all shipments to and from Russia with immediate effect. This applies to land, air and ocean transport.”

Source: Transport Intelligence, 15th March 2022

Author: Thomas Cullen

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