Ukrainian dispute hits truck exports to Eastern Europe

The political and civil unrest in Ukraine has severely affected the UK’s used truck and trailer export business to the country.

Charlie Wright, MD of Protruck Auctions, said before the troubles there were several buyers who regularly bought between five and eight trucks and trailers that would then be shipped to Ukraine.

“It’s an important market for export,” he said. While some buyers are based in the country, there are others based in neighbouring nations, including Russia, that supply it with trucks from the UK.

Street protests started in November 2013 and eventually led to former president Viktor Yanukovych fleeing in February. He was replaced by acting president Oleksandr Turchynov before Russia deployed troops to Crimea, and subsequently annexed it from the rest of Ukraine.

This has severely affected the hryvnia, the Ukrainian currency, and the Russian rouble, both of which have weakened significantly against the pound since November.

The Ukrainian market favoured Daf tractor units and refrigerated trailers. “Usually they go for ’03 to ’06 Dafs and break those down for parts, and ’07-plus tractors to run and operate. Now it has completely dropped off,” said Wright. “These trucks are now going to the African market.”

He added: “When there is localised civil and political unrest, business stops. In Egypt it affected everything, and it took more than a year for it to settle down. We have only just seen some buyers for Egypt return to market.”