Ukraine December road food exports fall 30.6% amid Polish drivers’ strike

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s shipments of food by road decreased 30.6% in the first four days of December amid difficulties on the Polish border caused by a drivers’ strike, brokers said on Wednesday.

Spike Brokers, which regularly tracks and publishes export statistics in Ukraine, said on the Telegram messaging app that 50,000 metric tons of agricultural goods were exported by truck from Dec. 1-4, versus 72,000 tons in same period in November and 71,000 tons in October.

Polish truckers have blocked roads to three border crossings with Ukraine to protest against what they see as government inaction over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Before the protest, which started on Nov. 6, Polish border crossings accounted for about 50% of all Ukrainian land road freight traffic.

Brokers said the overall average daily throughput of agricultural products across the border in December decreased to 12,538 tons compared with 18,012 tons in November and 17,886 tons in October.

“The largest decrease of up to 50% occurred at the border crossings with Poland – from 6,400 tons in November to 3,200 tons per day on average in December,” Spike Brokers said.

Ukraine’s government is expected to harvest 79 million tons of grain and oilseed in 2023, with the 2023/24 exportable surplus totalling about 50 million tons.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Louise Heavens)