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RFC AMBER part of EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes
On 30 May Mr Kristian Schmidt, Director “Land Transport” at DG MOVE, addressed a letter to railway Infrastructure Managers in Europe, including RFC AMBER Members, on EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes. His letter included a map of Rail Freight Corridors, border crossing points and ports, which can be used when considering the export of Ukrainian products by rail. RFC AMBER is among the corridors explicitly outlined in this tentative map.
The blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports by Russia poses severe challenges on the Ukrainian economy and has also an impact on transportation and logistics in the EU. On 12 May, the European Commission adopted a Communication setting up an action plan for EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes to facilitate Ukraine's agricultural export and bilateral trade with the EU (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52022DC0217&from=EN) in order to support Ukraine’s economy and economic recovery, as well as to contribute to stabilising world food markets and improving global food security. The Communication highlights the essential role of rail transport in transporting those products.
With three of the four countries of RFC AMBER – Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – being direct neighbours to Ukraine, and one country – Slovenia – providing a seaport at the Adriatic Sea, it is not a surprise, that RFC AMBER is among the corridors used for re-routing of Ukrainian exports and imports. Consequently, RFC AMBER is included in the tentative map of routes for Ukrainian agriculture exports.
The letter by the Commission calls Infrastructure Managers and Member States to make all efforts to accomodate trains exporting Ukrainian agricultural products, to make best possible use of capacities available and to consider certain other measures facilitating pragmatic solutions to this urgent issue. The Members of RFC AMBER are supporting this initiative by considering, and where possible implementing, any suitable measures, which could help to provide additional transport opportunities for Ukrainian export and import goods and to overcome possible constraints.
RFC AMBER would also like to highlight the intensive and important efforts, which many Railway Undertakings using our lines and terminal managers along our corridor are making every day to provide new transport capacities to move grain as well as other goods from and to Ukraine. Though transshipment and storage capacities and the availabilty of specialized wagons remain challenges, several new rail flows have already successfully been established at short notice, demonstrating – once again after a quick and pragmatic response in connection with the COVID-pandemic – a high level of flexibility by the rail community to respond to extraordinary situations. This flexibility helps in many cases even industries in the EU to maintain and adapt their supply lines affected by the Russian war on Ukraine.
RFC AMBER stands ready to discuss with its customers and stakeholders and, wherever feasible, contribute to solutions, which can facilitate the movement of goods from and to Ukraine.