What problems did cargo carriers in Ukraine face during the year of war?
From the first days, and even hours, of Russian aggression, it became clear that it was urgently necessary to make radical changes in the life of every Ukrainian, as well as in the work of all enterprises. Logistics is a strategically important industry for the country’s economy, so it was necessary to almost completely restructure its activities as quickly as possible. First of all, it was necessary to transfer the largest warehouse complexes from the Kyiv region and eastern regions of Ukraine inland. It should be taken into account that almost 80% of all warehouse space (this is approximately 1.8 - 2.2 million m2) with professional equipment was located in Kyiv and the Kyiv region.
The second important point is the primary focus on the delivery of humanitarian and essential supplies to areas located near the front line, and which are constantly subject to rocket and artillery fire.
Thirdly, there is a lack of air traffic over the territory of Ukraine, which means there is no air delivery of urgent cargo, plus a blockade of sea ports.
Fourthly, part of the territories turned out to be temporarily occupied by Russian troops, which led to the need to urgently change routes for transporting goods, placing priority on ensuring security for all participants in logistics processes.
Fifthly, most enterprises have suspended their activities, which means that the transportation of commercial goods has ceased.
It should be added that missile strikes in the first weeks of the war destroyed oil refineries in Ukraine, which led to a sharp increase in prices and the need to introduce limits on fuel. In such conditions, not all transport enterprises were able to quickly reorient their activities and continue to provide goods delivery services. Basically, large companies that have their own fleet of vehicles, a staff of highly qualified employees and a well-developed material and technical base have coped with these tasks.
What changes have occurred in the field of logistics
All of the above factors forced changes in the warehouse infrastructure, which affected the complexity and cost of logistics processes. Delivery times for goods have increased, both within Ukraine and from abroad, and the cost of services has increased. Another important change is the refusal of many enterprises to accumulate goods in warehouses; now representatives of business structures in most cases try to minimize the accumulation of product balances, and instead ship goods “off the shelf”.
The main methods of transporting goods in Ukraine and abroad are road and rail freight transportation. Also, Ukrainian exporters have to redirect part of their cargo flows to the seaports of European Union countries. Mainly:
- Poland (Gdansk, Gdynia, Szczecin-Swinoujscie);
- Romania (Constanza);
- Croatia (Ploce and Rijeka);
- Bulgaria (Burgas);
- Netherlands (Rotterdam);
- Germany (Bremen, Bremerhaven, Hamburg);
- Latvia (Riga and Liepaja);
- Lithuania (Klaipeda).
The load on the Danube ports, which have relatively small capacities, has increased significantly. All this also influenced an increase in delivery times for goods and an increase in the cost of services provided. Now large cargo transport companies are faced with the issues of introducing digital technologies, integration into the European logistics system, automation and mechanization of technological processes and improving the quality of services provided. Serious changes have occurred in European and global logistics; in particular, the European Commission has made changes to TEN-T, excluding routes from the aggressor country and the Republic of Belarus from the indicative maps, and at the same time including Ukrainian cargo transport routes in them.