Transportation trends in Eastern Europe
Since the Russian military invasion of Ukraine began on February 24th, transportation networks have been scrambling to adjust and react to the new reality. As the effects spill over neighbouring borders, we’ve been able to monitor significant changes in transportation activity in the region.
Faced with enormous public pressure and a gradual ratcheting of government sanctions, many shippers have massively limited their transports to Eastern Europe. Our data reveals that at least five industry leaders have reduced their operations in Russia by over 90%. Four of these companies have totally halted shipments to Russia, while there are another 6 industry champions who have also reduced their transport volumes by between 50-89% which surely will have knock-on consequences down the supply chain.
Based on pre-invasion tour data from several countries we can see some notable declines. Ukraine is currently operating at 20% of their original transport volume, Belarus at 70% and Russia at 90%. Surrounding transitory countries have also been affected. Latvia, for example, has only 80% of its original transport volume.
Another metric we use to measure transportation activity is the amount of active vehicles. In this case, despite the reduction of transport volume across the region, only 3 countries have suffered a large change in the amount of active vehicles on the road.
Since February 24th we have seen Belarus, Ukraine and Russia experience steep declines followed by a gradual levelling off in their active vehicles relative to the period before the invasion.
Both Russia and Ukraine have seen a consistent decline in their active vehicles by 20% and 30% respectively. The largest change though has been in Belarus who suffered a huge 40% reduction in early March, and have not yet managed to recover.
Unsurprisingly, data from the Sixfold Live map show delays at various border crossings in the region. The border between Belarus and Poland is of particular interest given Belarus’ role as a gateway for trucks moving between Europe and Russia in both directions.
The number of border crossings underwent a sharp increase followed by a corrective drop that saw transit volumes eventually fall to running at a third of their normal levels, which is one possible explanation for the huge drop in active vehicles in Belarus. Queues between the two countries ran at 5-10km with longer spikes coinciding with protests against Russian and Belarusian trucks.
In the short term, there is some optimism that a combination of sanctions, public sentiment and shipper behaviour is having a measurable effect on Russian and Belarusian logistics operations. Yet at the same time, Ukraine suffers from the same problems which are starting to be felt in neighbouring countries and further down the supply chain.