How Poland Reacts to Border Blockade with Ukraine

Friday, 17 November 2023

Polish hauleirs have been blocking the movement of freight transport at the border with Ukraine since 6 November.

European Pravda has already published articles by Ukrainian experts on this matter. But what do they write about it in Poland?

Read about the problems and demands of Polish hauliers, as well as attempts to resolve the issue, in the article by Cezary Szczepański, the Polish economist and editor – Perspective from Poland on Anti-Ukrainian Protests at the Border: Under what Conditions Can Blockade End.

As of today, the protesters have three main demands: return to the permit system for Ukrainian auliers to work in the EU; the exclusion of Polish trucks from the Ukrainian eQueue system; and perhaps the most extreme demand – a ban on the registration of transport companies in Poland that do not originate from the EU.

Artur Izdebski, a transport company owner, presented additional demands in an interview with

Among other things, they demand compensation for lost income or providing Polish hauliers with access to the Ukrainian system Shliakh (Path). Protesters are also outraged by the actions of the Polish government.

The protest itself is a grassroots initiative of several dozen small entrepreneurs, but industry representatives are supportive of it.

As Polish hauliers state, these demands are an attempt to solve problems affecting Polish companies.

"Ukrainian drivers on the Ukraine-Poland-Ukraine route earn $350 for three weeks of work. How can we compete with these companies when a Polish worker costs a Polish haulier four times more?" say the protesters.

The difference in labour costs is one thing. Another thing is the freedom with which Ukrainian companies can move across Poland and other EU countries.

Shortly after the Russian invasion, EU restrictions on transport for Ukrainians were lifted, resulting in an estimated increase in transportation from 160,000 to 500,000.

Ukrainian companies started fulfilling orders within the EU (not just transporting goods from Ukraine), having an advantage in lower labour costs. The lifting of restrictions was supposed to last until the end of June 2023, but they were eventually extended until June 30, 2024.

This caused outrage among Polish entrepreneurs who dominate the European transport market.

The hauliers protest against unequal treatment by the Ukrainian border service.

The Polish government has distanced itself from the protest. It is difficult to expect the Polish government to be interested in ending the conflict.

The Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce has appealed to stop the border blockade. However, representatives of the Polish hauliers are still indifferent.

"The protest will not end soon," assured protester Pawel Kot in an interview with Rzeczpospolita.

Protesters claim that the new realities in the transport market lead to the bankruptcy of companies.

The Ukrainian side believes that this activity is the only chance for the local economy to survive the war and the blockade of maritime transport. At the same time, both Poles and Ukrainians are not very willing to compromise.

The neutral position of the Polish government does not side with anyone

And the queue at the border is growing every hour.

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