Moscow, Warsaw agree to keep freight moving

© Wojciech Pacewicz
Russia and Poland have agreed to allow cross-border cargo transportation to continue until April 15 while a new permit deal is negotiated, announced Poland’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Jerzy Schmidt.

Russian and Polish truck drivers have been stuck at border crossings since the previous agreement expired on January 31. Polish trucks were allowed to leave Russia up until February 15.

"Yesterday Polish and Russian experts reviewed the transitional period and discussed permits for that period which expires on April 15," Schmitt said on Friday, adding the sides are to meet again.

The Russian Transport Ministry had complained Warsaw was refusing to put forward a new deal on cargo permits for this year.  

“Today we will continue negotiations that are important not just in terms of transportation but also for Russia’s and Poland’s economies," Schmidt said.

According to the Polish Association of International Carriers, on average 600 trucks from Poland enter Russia daily, each of them could earn up to €2,500 per day.

Statistics from the International Trade Centre show that last year Poland was eleventh among Russia’s foreign trade partners. Russia exported $9 billion worth of goods to Poland in the first eleven months of 2015. Imports from Poland to Russia (mostly consumer goods) were worth $3.7 billion in the same period, compared with $6.6 billion in 2014.

Russia is facing a similar problem with Ukraine. Kiev has stopped Russian trucks from entering its territory after Moscow blocked the transit of Ukrainian trucks. Russia said it was responding to Kiev's failure to deal with Ukrainian nationalists who were stopping Russian trucks from travelling through the western and northern regions of Ukraine.  

The Russian Transport Ministry said trucking between Russia and Ukraine could be resumed on February 20.