The war which broke out in Ukraine on 24 February is starting to have a significant impact on Polish companies. SMEs as well as small, family owned businesses are seeing previously unknown problems arise.
One of the first consequences of a full-blown military conflict taking place beyond our Eastern border is a growing disruption in road transport. Some are even calling it a logistical gridlock. Ukrainians, who until recently were driving a significant part of polish trucks are taking leave to fight for their homeland. Before the Russian invasion trucks with Polish plates were driven by around 105 000 Ukrainians. In recent days 25 to 30 percent of them removed to their homeland. Those are the figures provided by the Polish Transport and Logistics association.
Some transport companies were forced to park as many as 80% of their trucks. It’s already becoming a challenge to find new truck drivers in Poland and the situation may become even more difficult in the near future. The looming threat of a logistical freeze is hanging over speditors and may soon affect the industries which rely on distribution.
Truck parking areas are also facing unforeseen challenges as Russian and Bielarussan drivers are being met with hostility from their international colleagues. The opposite situation takes place behind Russian and Bielarussan border. Some speditors are scrambling to distribute cargo in a way that allows for it to be transported by trucks registered in Belarus or Russia, as Ukrainian plates are becoming ‘dangerous’ in those countries.
In the long run, the sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus will change the face of logistics in Europe and beyond. They will also shift the way in which business have operated for the last thirty or so years. But the first signs of the consequences can already be seen. Flight corridors to Asia have extended by thousands of kilometers with planes having to go around Russian and Ukrainian air space. The plans for ‘Silk Trail’, an intermodal link connecting Asia and Europe that covers Russia suddenly became a big question mark with some even predicting its doom.
The two logistics giants MSC and Maersk announced that they have suspended train containers from China to Europe. The traffic in the Polish Małaszewice terminal where 90% of Chinese cargo arrives in trains is already down and may come to a halt soon. There are shortages in locomotives on the Belarusan side which is likely the result of them being used by the military.
Overnight speditors had to stop relying on train routes through Russia and insurance companies refuse to secure cargo due to the risk of war. Sea freight will fill in the ground and air transportation. With the soaring prices of petrol and energy, transport is becoming more expensive fast and it won’t be long before this will affect the prices of everyday goods. Any day now we will notice the difference when buying a loaf of bread.
At the moment however, what is most important is how we can help our Sisters and Brothers in Ukraine. We’re publishing a list of verified organisations that support relief efforts helping victims of the barbaric war in Ukraine. All we ask is that you donate and share these links further:
Polish Red Cross https://pck.pl/na-pomoc-ukrainie/
Polish Humanitarian Action https://www.pah.org.pl/ukraina/
SOS For Children https://pomagam3.wioskisos.org/
Friends of Ukraine Society https://www.tpu.org.pl/pl/chcesz_pomoc.html
Open Dialogue Foundation https://zrzutka.pl/pomocukrainie
Santa Claus Foundation https://mikolaj.org.pl/zbiorki/ukraina/
Polish Food Banks Federation https://zbiorkazywnosci.pl/bank-zywnosci/dla-ukrainy/
Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs https://pomagamukrainie.gov.pl/