Upcoming Slovak shutdown at Ukraine border splits local carriers
Photo: UNAS / Facebook

The Union of Road Haulers of Slovakia (Unia autodopravcov Slovenska, UNAS) has decided to block the Slovak-Ukrainian border at the Vyšné Nemecké – Uzhhorod checkpoint, starting from 3 p.m. on Friday, reported the press service of the State Customs Service of Ukraine.

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Slovak transporters announced that vehicles with humanitarian and military aid, perishable goods, fuel and lubricants, and live animals will be allowed to pass without restrictions.

The rest of the commercial cargo will be allowed in the amount of five trucks per hour leaving Slovakia (entering Ukraine).

The blocking does not apply to vehicles that will enter Slovakia, i.e. exit from Ukraine will be carried out without restrictions.

As of this morning, at the Uzhhorod – Vyšné Nemecké checkpoint, there was a line (eQueue) of 1,452 trucks for exit, and 500 for entry.

Last week, the carriers of Slovakia already blocked the movement of trucks through the Vyšné Nemecké checkpoint.

According to the official statement of UNAS, "the purpose of the protest is to join the carriers from Poland, who have been blocking border checkpoints for almost four weeks. We cannot leave them in the fight, which in Slovakia is becoming a joint fight. The main demand is to immediately cancel the agreement between the EU and Ukraine, as a result of which the transportation market in Slovakia is beginning to collapse."

Not all Slovak carriers support the blockade of the Ukrainian border. The day before, the president of the Česmad carrier association, Pavol Piešt'ansky, said that his organization will not join the protest.

He believes that the problem with transportation is much broader and needs a diplomatic solution. The head of Česmad notes that non-Ukrainian companies are abusing the transport agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

"Companies from Turkey and other countries that are not part of the EU have registered in Ukraine, because otherwise they would need permits for transportation to the European Union. But these are fictitious Ukrainian companies. It is relatively easy to move brands to another country," Piešt'ansky said in an interview in the local publication Dennik.

He warns that a third of Slovakia's carriers may go bankrupt due to the current situation. At the same time, the head of Česmad believes that Slovak state bodies are also to blame for the problem.

Protesters from UNAS criticized Piešt'ansky position, calling his criticism of Slovakian regulatory bodies a "lie".

Read more: Polish PM Morawiecki lends support to border blockaders, argues old system 'worked well'