Poland lacks capacity to handle cargo both at the border and in ports

Poland’s infrastructure is not ready for the re-export of large batches of Ukrainian products. The commercial director of Metinvest Dmytro Nikolayenko told about this in an interview with the leading Polish business publication WNP, it is stated in the company’s message.

According to him, Poland could receive 70 million tons of exports per year – these are the goods that Ukrainian ports lost due to the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation. However, the total volume of exports through Polish ports did not increase and even decreased by 1% due to the unpreparedness of the infrastructure designed for imports. In particular, there is a lack of cargo handling capacity both at the border and in the ports.

Due to the Russian blockade of the Black and Azov seas, Metinvest was forced to look for new types of transport for supplying products abroad. In the case of iron ore (pellets) in the territories controlled by Ukraine, there was not enough capacity for its overload. So the task was to find alternative logistics routes.

«Currently there are two routes. The first – to the northern ports of Poland, the second – to the southern ports of Romania. It is also possible to use Croatian ports, but their capacity is much weaker than that of ports in Ukraine, and all logistical issues become much more difficult,» noted Dmytro Nikolayenko.

According to him, another problem is the different track width in Ukraine and the EU, which requires solving the problem not only of overloading, but also of product storage.

«Furthermore, when cargo such as pellets or iron ore concentrate overloads the grabs, certain impurities can get into the products, and cleaning is an expensive process. Because of this, we lost more than $19 million in 2022 alone,» said the commercial director of Metinvest.

The route through Poland, Dmytro Nikolayenko said, causes serious logistical difficulties for the company. In particular, in the winter of 2022, warehouses in Polish ports were filled with coal, and it was impossible to load the group’s products. There are also problems with the speed of movement of goods – it is half as much as usual for Ukraine. In addition, the process is hampered by overly complicated customs procedures that require additional time.

«Despite this, Metinvest has become an important partner of Polish ports and railways. The volume of transshipment of products through Polish railway crossings increased by 45% compared to 2021. Thanks to our iron ore, Polish ports were able to increase the export of iron ore products and steel by more than 100% in 2022,» said Dmytro Nikolayenko.

As GMK Center reported earlier, unblocking ports for all types of goods will bring Ukraine more than $5 billion in taxes per year, foreign exchange earnings for the country under these conditions will amount to $20 billion per year. This assessment was expressed by the head of the Metinvest group’s CEO’s project office Oleksandr Vodoviz. Before the full-scale invasion, the share of grain in Ukraine’s sea exports was 40%, another 40% was accounted for by iron and steel products, and the rest was 20%.