Transporting Ukrainian agricultural products, especially grain, through Poland in 2023 could become much more difficult. Export of grain from Ukraine to Poland through the railway border crossing of Izov-Grubeshuv has been banned since February 27, according to the Ukrainian Agrarian Council (UAC). This border crossing has been one of the most frequently used for transporting Ukrainian grain through Poland since the beginning of the war. Moreover, veterinary border control at all border crossings between the two countries has been significantly intensified, resulting in noticeable delays and queues. Railway Supply magazine reports this, citing RailFreight.

Ukrainian grain

According to the UAC, as of February 16, 2023, the procedures for “selective control of forage grains in trains and trucks” have been changed. For example, veterinary border control at the Yagodin-Dorohusk crossing has been dramatically increased since February 17. The new policy implies that every wagon in every convoy must be checked. UAC complains that under the new policy, trains are left at Dorohusk station for three to four days for inspection. Previously, the waiting time at that station was only one day.

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The previous regime, introduced in early 2022, allowed for inland veterinary border inspections. This initiative helped reduce the burden of border crossing. However, Poland decided not to renew the initiative, which resulted in the halving of grain transit and long queues at the Yagodin-Dorohusk border crossing.

The UAC stressed that veterinary border controls have now also been introduced for trains in transit through Poland. These inspections were canceled at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the Council said they should still not be carried out. Andrzej Dykun, head of the UAC, said that this slowdown would “critically affect both Ukraine’s agricultural sector and the economy as a whole.

As explained in the UAC, almost half of the grain transported through Poland passes through the rail border crossing of Izov-Hrubieszów. Thus, this ban would increase the number of inspections and thus lead to delays. “Such actions could undermine all efforts of the European Union and Ukraine to develop the Solidarity Lanes and would cause significant damage to the agricultural sector,” Dykun added.

To this end, the Council stated that the European Commission calls on member states to increase the infrastructure capacity of new export corridors for Ukraine. Therefore, the EC demands new connections with Ukraine, as well as more flexibility and adequate personnel to speed up border crossing procedures. In conclusion, the UAC stressed the need to restore “the previous procedure of selective control of grain transported across the Ukrainian-Polish border by rail and road transport.”

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