The European Commission has approved a plan to help Ukraine export agricultural products

Sofiia Telishevska

The European Commission has provided Kyiv with an action plan aimed at helping Ukraine export its agro-industrial products, the so-called Solidarity Lanes.

The plan was presented by European Commissioner for Transport Adina Velyan.

"After Russiaʼs invasion of Ukraine and its blockade of Ukrainian ports, Ukrainian grain and other agricultural goods can no longer reach their destination. The situation threatens global food security, and there is an urgent need to create alternative logistics routes using all appropriate modes of transport," the commission said.

According to the European Commissioner, 20 million tons of grain should be shipped from Ukraine in less than three months, using EU infrastructure.

"This is a huge task, so it is important to coordinate and optimize logistics chains, pave new routes and avoid bottlenecks as much as possible. Our proposals relate to urgent solutions, as well as medium-term and long-term measures to better connect and integrate Ukraineʼs infrastructure with EU infrastructure. For both short-term and long-term solutions, we will work with the Ukrainian authorities and in close cooperation with neighboring member states, which have spared no effort to help during this crisis," Velyan explained.

Today, despite the simplification of the border crossing between Ukraine and the EU, thousands of cars and trucks are waiting to be registered on the Ukrainian side. The average waiting time for cars is 16 days, and at some borders it reaches 30 days. Even more ready-to-export grain is still stored in Ukrainian elevators. Among the problems are different track gauges: Ukrainian cars are mostly incompatible with the EU rail network, so most goods need to be moved to trucks or cars that meet the standard EU track.

This process is time consuming and transshipment capacity along borders is limited.

In order to remove these obstacles and create "Solidarity Lanes", the Commission will work on priority actions in the short term, including:

  • additional freight rolling stock, vessels and trucks;
  • capacity of transport networks and transshipment terminals.

The Commission also calls on market participants to urgently move mobile grain trucks to the appropriate border terminals to speed up transshipment. An agreement on road transport with Ukraine will also eliminate bottlenecks.