20 Oct A Bridge Too Far: Global Trucking Grinds to a Halt
“The situation is crazy. People across the world are going to starve if we cannot get Ukrainian grain to them yet our trucks are being held up.” From All About Feed
In recent news, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s darling infrastructure initiative– a key bridge in Crimea was blown up as part of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Escalating hostilities risk endangering the trucking logistics that keep Ukrainian grain flowing to already food insecure regions around the globe.
In the United States trucking is king of the road: More than 70 percent of all food is transported via truck. If you lined up all of the grain trucks of Kansas alone it would stretch all the way from the earth to the moon.
Blue Eagle recognizes that most of the world doesn’t realize how much trucking makes the economy go round– until there are logistical issues. And when economists look further afield that number blooms substantially– Ukraine’s wheat supplies specifically help keep developing nations fed.
According to the US Embassy, “More than half of the Ukrainian exports via the Black Sea Grain Initiative have gone to countries in the Global South, which broadly refers to developing regions in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Other countries destined to receive Ukrainian food products include Bangladesh, India, Libya and Tunisia.”
Perhaps the most dramatic truck supply chain is Ukraine’s grain corridor. It’s has been temporarily secured by an uneasy truce with Russia to allow grain to continue to be trucked out, but there have been long lines at the Ukrainian border imperiling grain supplies:
“I have driven past the queues myself just to see what is going on. There are 25kms (16 miles) of trucks on the Ukraine side waiting to cross into Poland and the drivers are waiting 5 to 6 days there. If farmers start moving larger volumes of grain towards Poland then these (truck) queues will easily reach 100kms (60miles) long,” from All About Feed.
But these grain lines will seem tame if Vladimir Putin continues to escalate the war in Ukraine. Recently, one of Putin’s pet projects– a Crimean bridge was blown up by opposing forces. Video evidence shows that Putin himself made a point of being one of the first drivers across the bridge.
Perhaps to highlight the significance of truck traffic that would cross it, Putin drove over the bridge in a semi truck.
Regardless of the global political fallout from the destruction of this bridge, experts recognize and continue to fret over the potential downstream consequences of disrupted trucking routes for the world’s grain supply.