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  • Writer's pictureКущ Олексій

Ukraine is doomed to create duplicate systems, including infrastructure ones, - Oleksiy Kushch

Finally start doing something, including reconfiguring transit flows from Ukraine (taking into account the occupation/blocking of the Azov, Black Sea and Danube ports).

And to move from the sham to the real European integration, which begins with bringing our country's infrastructure parameters in line with European standards.

It is not for nothing that I recently wrote that the current situation with the blocking of Ukrainian grain in Europe is the responsibility of our three ministries: the Ministry of Ecology, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources is responsible for the failed programs of processing agricultural raw materials and a 20-30% decrease in physical exports at the expense of value added.

The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food is the failed program of purchasing grain from small farms and family farms to support domestic prices.

We take an example from Poland, and I quote the Minister of Agrarian Policy of this country:

".... The highest subsidies will be for farmers from the voivodeships bordering Ukraine, where the situation is most difficult:

Podkarpackie and Lubelskie, where farmers will be able to receive 250 zlotys (about $57) per ton of wheat sold.

In the Małopolska, Świętokrzyska, Mazowiecka, and Podlaskie voivodeships, farmers will receive a supplement of 200 zlotys (about $45.5).

Farmers from other regions will receive 150 zlotys (about $34) in additional payments per ton of grain.

The aid will cover 60% of the harvest on crop areas of up to 50 hectares."

What should our Ministry of Infrastructure do?

I've already written about dry ports in Poland, where the Ukrainian harvest was supposed to be stored in a customs warehouse and gradually exported to Africa and Asia as the capacity of the Baltic ports was being built up, rather than being "dumped" on the domestic Polish market.

But there is one more crucial project.

This is Rail Baltica, a European standard gauge railroad project that will connect the Baltic States, Central (Poland), and Western Europe.

Let me remind you that in the Baltic countries, as well as in Ukraine, there is a "Russian" gauge of 1520 mm, while in most European countries, the gauge is 1435 mm.

It seems to be 8.5 cm, but how many problems.....

It is this 8.5 cm problem that the Rail Baltica project, which will run through Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas, Warsaw, and Berlin, is supposed to solve.

Rail Baltica should also facilitate the transport integration of the Baltic states with the European rail network.

This will increase train speeds, passenger and freight traffic.

The Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) and Poland have declared the project one of their priorities in the context of transport infrastructure development projects.

The decision of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe identified the Rail Baltica project as part of Pan-European Corridor 1.

The road part (Via Baltica) should also join it.

Rail Baltica is included in the list of priority projects of the European Union, and 50% of its funding will be allocated from the TEN-T (European Communications Networks) budget.

The other 50% will come from the budget of the participating countries.

And now, a control question. Where is Ukraine in this project?

It is not there.

We should already be negotiating with the EU to include a separate Lviv-Warsaw-Gdansk line in the Rail Baltica project, given that part of the Polish railway can only be modernized for heavy trains (there is already a European gauge there).

For our part, we need to create a complex "distribution" logistics hub near Lviv, where freight trains will either be transferred from one track to another or loaded from different modes of transport onto trains that are already adjusted to the European standard.

Of course, this is not a matter of a few months. This is a matter of several years.

But if nothing is done now, nothing will happen in years to come.

Moreover, in addition to joining the Rail Baltica project, it is necessary to modernize the Baltic ports for our grain transshipment.

Only then will it be possible to export more than 20 million tons of grain a year through them.

Of course, we can and should hope for the resumption of our seaports.

But after the experience of 2022, we simply cannot live without a broad diversification of risks in all strategic areas.

We are simply doomed to create duplicate and backup systems, including infrastructure.

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