The situation on the transport market has been characterized by cyclical changes; therefore it is difficult to make any far-reaching forecasts. Current developments clearly demonstrate that 2016 may be the year of extremes. On the one hand fuel prices decrease and on the other hand the geopolitical situation is uncertain and the transport sector has to face many challenges.

Last year we were concerned with the introduction of minimum wages for drivers (MiLOG) by the German government and possible withdrawal of numerous Polish transport companies from the Western market as well as the increase of competitiveness in the fight for transport orders on the domestic market, whereas 2016 began with a standstill of transportation between Poland and our Eastern neighbors.

To the east of the Bug River and tit for tat

For companies specialized in transport to the East, the conflict in Ukraine may lead to an involuntary change of specialization. Owing to a current situation, the only option left for transport companies is to search for an alternative, which will prevent the suspension of the movement of goods between the EU Member States and the states forming the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Also, Russia has recently put Polish drivers under stress when it stopped honoring permits to enter the Russian Federation. By the end of the third week of February the representatives of Polish and Russian governments made a temporary agreement in the matter: both countries will each receive 20 thousand permits valid until 15 April. The agreement is a good prognosis and gives hope for a return to normality as Russia undertook to change its controversial provisions by that time, which in the longer perspective may lead to a mutually beneficial long-term agreement.

What is in line for the Schengen Area?

The transport sector may soon face such difficulties as a possible break-up of the Schengen Area and Great Britain’s secession from the European Union. There is a chance that the establishment of a “small Schengen” will partially reduce the migration crisis and terrorist threat but at the same time it entails millions in losses for the transport sector. Bringing back border inspections will significantly delay the organization of transport processes. Once again, drivers will have to spend long hours in lines at border crossings.

The situation that took place last September exemplifies what may happen if detailed inspections of all vehicles crossing European borders were to be introduced. Random inspections of vehicles on the border between Germany and Austria caused seven-kilometer queues.

High EUR exchange rate to the rescue

As pointed out by experts and owners of the largest forwarding companies in Poland, lower fuel prices and the high EUR exchange rate are also of great significance. The situation will primarily benefit carriers. When cooperating with foreign companies they settle costs in PLN but receive income mainly in EUR. According to, from the beginning of the year revenues from abroad increased by nearly 6%, whereas Polish exports may develop by as much as 10%. Apart from that, fuel prices are still decreasing; however, it is uncertain whether this trend will continue.

Current events are surely disturbing for carriers as it is difficult to predict if this year will bring only gains or losses as well. Experts unanimously state that national and international road transport will continue to prevail among other modes of transport. Nevertheless, we should not belittle the upcoming dangers but rather gradually prepare for the outcomes of political games.