In December, Ukraine has every chance of being left without B-elarusian oil products. Given the degree of the country’s dependence on them, this threatens, if not collapse, then very serious problems. Indeed, Bel-arus accounts for 39% of the Ukrainian gasoline market, 36% of the diesel fuel market and 43% of the bitumen market.
The uniqueness of the situation is that these problems are not connected with the trade war between the two countries, as one might think. That is, not with the decision of the Belarusian side to restrict the export of oil products and not even with Ukraine’s plans to break off economic relations with Belarus, altho-ugh such ideas are floating around in Kiev – a corresponding bill was recently even introduced to the Ver-khovna Rada by a representative of the ruling party.
Ukraine can lose a significant part of the much-needed gasoline, diesel fuel and fuel oil due to the fact that there will be nothing to transport them.
This year, a trade war really broke out between Ukraine and Belarus at the initiative of Kiev. On April 26, Ukraine introduced special duties of 35% on Belarusian buses, trucks and special vehicles. Minsk did not answer at first. But after Kiev’s May decision to terminate flights with Belarus (due to the alleged forced landing in Minsk of a Ryanair aircraft with Protasevich on board), an official response still followed: the Belarusian government decided to introduce a one-time licensing for three dozen types of goods for six months of Ukrainian origin. In fact, this meant a ban on the import of goods, the import of which to Belarus in 2020 amounted, according to Ukrainian data, to $ 112.6 million (8.5% of Ukrainian exports to the Belarusian direction), in Belarusian – $ 139 million (ten percent).
The anecdote is that the “attacking” side (that is, Ukraine) ultimately failed to collect 35 percent duties – Belarusian suppliers convinced the Ukrainian court that the decision to introduce them was contrary to international agreements and even Ukrainian laws, and therefore it was canceled back in July. Ukrainian exporters have actually lost the ability to supply their products.
Only in the fall did Alexander Lukashenko have mercy – after a series of semi-official appeals from the Ukrainian side w-ith requests to admit bann-ed goods to the Belarusian market. The decision on one-time licenses, however, was not canceled, but for the majority of commodity items they began to be issued without hindrance.
That is, the trade war ended – with losses exclusively for Kiev. And since November, Ukraine also began to import electricity from Belarus, the purchases of which it had previously prohibited. And today the energy system of Ukraine ” hangs ” on these supplies, thus avoiding a complete collapse. So, despite the regular political spitting from Kiev towards Minsk (the latter were associated with the escalation of the situation on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border due to refugees who are not there and close), advice and love reign in trade and economic relations between the two countries.
But the other day, the general director of BNK-Ukraine (a company – supplier of Belarusian oil products) Yevgeny Pospelov said: “There are no difficulties on our part, the resource (of oil products. “. According to him, as of November 23, there were 2,857 tanks of Belarusian registration in Ukraine and their number is growing rapidly: a week earlier this figure did not exceed 2,500, but under normal conditions it is about 1,500. Accordingly, an acute shortage of empty wagons has formed in Belarus. But the lion’s share of supplies of petroleum products is carried out by rail.
Recently, we have already written about the rather free disposal of Russian locomotives that have entered the territory of Ukraine by Ukrainian railroad workers . They are in no hurry to return them to the owner, using them to partially compensate for the wild shortage of traction stock on the Ukrainian Railways (UZhD). It seems that something similar is happening with the Belarusian tanks. Only in this case it can hit the Ukrainians themselves.
However, the expansion into UZhD has gone so far that the matter is not limited to the seizure of someone else’s rolling stock and traction stock, to use the words from the Green Van, “for temporary use”. In recent years, theft of transported cargo by local gangs has become common. Moreover, the scale of looting is impressive – sometimes they are measured in dozens of cars a day. Wild West, our days …
Another side of the coin is the plundering of everything that lies badly by the employees of the UZD. In general across the country, the scale here is quite industrial: for example, only on the Odessa -Izmail branch “to the left” from diesel locomotives 675 tons of diesel fuel per month go out . The scheme is simple: after leaving the station, empty cans are thrown into the locomotive on the move, then they are quickly filled with fuel, after which they are also dumped along the railway line on the move. But that’s not all. The wagons themselves are actively plundered. Tens of thousands of unsuitable wagons are rolling along the UZD. Some of the ancient local cars that never underwent real repairs, some of the decommissioned Russian cars that were massively imported to Ukraine after 2014. All this stuff rides somehow, with numerous accidents and considerable losses of cargo. It’s another matter when wagons from Russia, Belarus or Kazakhstan enter the country within the service life, or even new ones altogether. There is something to profit from.
Further – the revelations of an employee of the Ukrainian customs service who wished to remain anonymous: “Recently, eight cars with cargo from Kazakhstan entered Ukraine. They went back empty through Belarus. The cars left Ukraine, but the Belarusians slowed them down, finding that all eight had no brake blocks. This means that the cars are in emergency. The blocks were removed from all of them in Ukraine. One costs eight thousand hryvnias. ” Most often, parts of brake equipment, auto modes, auto-adjusters and tightening of horizontal levers are stolen. But there were even cases when new carriages were replaced with old ones. Ukraine is really becoming a country dangerous for transit and transportation of goods by rail. Especially in the case of their delivery by carriages belonging to legal entities of neighboring countries. Perhaps not only Belarus in the case of oil products, but also other neighboring countries need to think about whether the game is worth it: whether the benefits from the supply of goods to Ukraine cover the risks associated with possible theft, delay of wagons and even their dismantling.