CZ/SK verze

Trucks Blocked the Border: Experts Believe This Cannot Happen on the Railway

Trucks Blocked the Border: Experts Believe This Cannot Happen on the Railway
photo: TASR / Public domain/Trucks in traffic jam
07 / 12 / 2023

Truck carriers from Central Europe are starting to block the crossing between Vyšné Nemecké, Slovakia, and Uzhhorod, Ukraine from Friday. The reason is the abuse and threat to Slovak companies by cheap competition from Ukraine and other countries outside the European Union. Since the railway is more ecological, there is now all the more reason to transfer the maximum load from the road to the railway.

Carriers from several Central European countries have asked the European Commission to end the exception for Ukrainian carriers regarding the entry of trucks into the European Union. Truck drivers from Ukraine used to need a permit to enter, but it was canceled during the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine. Central European carriers claim to be harmed by this right of entry.

The president of the Česmad hauliers' association, Pavol Piešťanský, said that the exception for Ukrainian trucks threatens Slovak companies. According to him, this exception took about a third of the business from Slovak carriers. In addition, companies from countries outside the EU have registered in Ukraine. They most often meet with Turkey. Under normal circumstances, these countries would require a permit to enter. Piešťanský further claimed that these are allegedly fictitious Ukrainian companies and that it is easy to move brands to another country.

TASR / Public domain

The exception for Ukrainians has been valid for a year, but the problems only came after some time, as carriers from countries outside the EU had to move their trucks. According to Piešťanský, it may happen that up to a third of Slovak carriers go bankrupt.

From Friday, December 1st, the Union of Motor Carriers of Slovakia (UNAS) blocked the border crossing between Vyšné Nemecké and Uzhhorod. The blockade started at 3 pm and will last until further notice. UNAS clarified that the purpose of the protest was the need for urgent solutions. These are demands submitted to the Minister of Transport, Jozef Ráž Jr. "Thank you for listening and recognizing the legitimacy of our demands," he said. Their goal is to join the carriers from Poland, who have been blocking border crossings with trucks for almost a month.

The Union criticized the agreement when the EU decided to grant an exception for Ukrainian carriers. The situation that has arisen can devastatingly disrupt the trade ratio between transports between Slovakia and Ukraine. Slovak carriers would end up at a disadvantage. During negotiations with the Ministry of Transport, representatives of UNAS pointed out several requirements. The main request was to terminate the agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The ministry stated that truckers have the right to strike, but they must not endanger the health and lives of residents.

Carriers said the blockade would not limit the transport of humanitarian goods, military aid, the transportation of live animals, fuel, and refrigerated and fresh goods. The transport of commercial goods will be allowed at the rate of four trucks per hour.