EC INITIATES ACTIONS ON THE EU-UKRAINE SOLIDARITY LANES
On 19 May, CLECAT participated in a meeting organised by DG MOVE to discuss the actions related to transport outlined in the Communication to facilitate Ukraine's agricultural export and bilateral trade with the EU. This Communication identifies the bottlenecks and puts forward an action plan on what is needed to unlock the potential and scale up the transport of the export of agricultural products of Ukraine. This includes a call on EU market players to urgently make available necessary equipment, rolling stock, vehicles, barges and vessels and the setting up of a matchmaking platform to facilitate exchanges between logistic chain actors to optimise cargo flow.
The Commission recalled that 90% of Ukrainian exports (around 25 million of grains and sunflower oil) are now blocked in Black Sea ports and need to be removed from silos before the next harvest this summer. It is estimated that exports must reach 3 million tonnes per month this summer to clear the storage capacity.
Mr Taras Vysotskyi, the Ukrainian Deputy Minister Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture, called on the Commission and all relevant stakeholders to work closely with the Ukrainian government and logistics service providers to increase exports of agricultural goods. The Commission presented some examples of matchmaking platforms which can be used by logistics service providers to facilitate business contacts between Ukraine and EU/third countries operators. In the medium to long term, the Commission will take actions to increase the infrastructure capacity of new export corridors and to establish new infrastructure connections in the framework of the reconstruction of Ukraine.
The Commission invited representatives from the freight transport sector including EU actors in logistics, rail operators, infrastructure managers, port operators, sea shipping companies, producers of agricultural equipment, inland waterways operators, wagon and barge owners, etc to comment on the actions identified. In general, industry representatives were eager to support Ukraine. However, many referred to logistical and administrative challenges of organising such transport operations: the main issue lies in the fact that insurance companies would not cover freight operations in Ukraine. Freight operators called on national authorities to guarantee the safety and security of their workers and assets. It was also noted that the current 5-to-6-day waiting times at the EU borders were too long. Therefore, authorities in the EU countries bordering Ukraine were asked to facilitate the entry of goods into the EU with additional workforce at border crossing points and to reduce the number of SPS checks to what is strictly necessary, especially for transit cargo. National contact points have been working together with the Commission to coordinate the border-crossing procedures, with the aim to prioritise the export of agricultural goods and reduce waiting times at the borders.
Freight forwarders and logistics service providers who are willing to support the initiative, or have questions related to administrative procedures, can address their questions to the dedicated mailbox: EU-UKRAINE-SOLIDARITY-LANES@ec.europa.eu.