The Polish-Russian war for dominance on the international trucking market can be expected to escalate in mid-August, writes Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (Poland). This time, the Russians are planning to introduce legislative changes that will force carriers to fork out more than a quarter of a billion euros in additional expenditures per year. This is almost half of the annual turnover from Polish companies’ trucking operations in Russia. Carriers from other countries (including the Baltic States, Slovakia, Hungary, and Ukraine) may also fall victims, although on a smaller scale.
According to carriers, Russia is violating the TIR Convention, which regulates international transportation of goods and guarantees quotas and the amounts of duties and taxes. The Russians want to introduce individual insurance policies that will essentially duplicate TIR insurance guarantees on August 14, says Tadeusz Wilk of the Association of International Road Transport Carriers (ZMPD).
ZMPD believes that purchase of additional insurance will cost every carrier traveling eastward about EUR 1,000 per trip. The additional expenditures will be around EUR 270 million per year because about 270,000 such operations are performed every year.
The situation has been brought to the attention of the Polish government. Attempts to solve the problem have thus far boiled down to written correspondence, but it is only one-way correspondence because Russia is silent. One of the first to react was the Polish Ministry of Finance. The head of the Polish Customs Service, who is a deputy minister of finance, sent to his counterpart in Moscow on July 22 a letter in which he expressed "deep concern" about the decision and asked for its cancellation. The economy and transport ministries acted similarly.
Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechociński sent to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov an official letter in which he expressed concern about the planned measures in the context of the importance of mutual economic relations and Russia's accession to the WTO. He pointed to the violation of the TIR Convention and concerns about the future profitability of trucking companies and, consequently, threats to exports.
Polish truckers are trying to prepare a joint statement condemning the decision of the Russian authorities. Representatives of Ukraine are also expected to sign it
The Polish government also intends to prepare a report with a list of the negative consequences for the Polish transport sector "on August 14." The report will be sent to the Russian ambassador in Warsaw.
Carriers themselves are trying to prepare a joint statement condemning the decision of the Russian authorities. It is expected to be signed by representatives of Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has reminded Russia that multilateral treaties take precedence over national and regional solutions. Russia has not yet responded to these officially.
The current conflict is actually the second phase of the Polish-Russian transport war. Polish carriers were stopped at the border in 2011 because of confusion over entry permits. As a result, one in every three Polish transport company stopped transportation through the eastern border.
Based on materials from Dziennik Gazeta Prawna