Transport to Ukraine – Freight forwarders perspective

John Shirley Ltd has been involved heavily with humanitarian aid work across the globe from the get go. From sending shoeboxes at Christmas to Africa and Moldova to sending peace keeping vehicles, blankets, body bags, bowsers, and bailey bridges to former Yugoslavia during the war, we’ve done the lot.

Now, we’ve taking on the challenge of Ukraine at war. Every Christmas we’ve carried shoeboxes from Ireland  to Odessa, that includes 2022. Using our contacts from almost 30 years of trading, we have managed to find our way using Poles and Ukrainians to transport anything from generators, vehicles and medication to children’s toys.

When the war broke out last year, we were contacted by our regular charities as well as a long standing client to find solutions for both full loads and part loads into the country. We naturally jumped at the chance to help, and within no time shipments were en route . Dealing with shipments in a war zone is something that requires care and commitment as we are putting the drivers into a dangerous situation. Not only do we need to think about the driver’s welfare, but there is also the consideration of paperwork.

At the beginning, paperwork into Ukraine was a somewhat simple thing, as they were desperate for whatever we could send. However, since then, many have tried to smuggle in commercial goods under the guise of humanitarian aid to escape taxes and duty. Due to this, agents and the Ukrainian customs officials have become a lot stricter making the transport of goods more problematic. Even the ministries to whom we deliver have to cross every t and dot every i!

Communication can also be a problem: if there is an air raid on a Ukrainian haulier might be in the basement or elsewhere underground without the possibility of emailing or even texting, certainly not tracking the trucks. If becomes difficult therefore to predict when a truck will turn up at a loading or offloading point. We always aim to be on time but have to make an exception under war time conditions.