Polish trucker strike threatens Ukrainian pipe supply

Ukraine’s pipemakers increased production in January-September amid the ongoing Russian invasion, says national pipemaker association Ukrtruboprom.

Total volume amounted to 376,100 tonnes, up by 5.1% on-year, Kallanish notes. However, in September alone, output reached 36,900t, down 11.7% compared to the previous month and 10.2% less on-year.

According to the association, pipe companies saw mixed results in the first nine months of the year. In particular, Interpipe Niko Tube saw production surge 8.8% on-year, Uktrubozol increased output by 26.2% and Centravis by 312.9%. However, Trubostal reduced output 54.5%, Interpipe NMTZ decreased the production of electric welded pipe by 62.9% and Oscar pipe production fell 25%.

“Based on the results, the pipe industry of Ukraine demonstrated positive dynamics, despite the constant shelling of production sites located in front-line zones, in particular in Nikopol,” says Ukrtrubprom general director Georgy Polsky. “A real stab in the back for Ukrainian exporters, in particular steel pipes, was the blockade of the Ukrainian-Polish border, which began in early November. The European direction is the only one that remains for our business after the start of the large-scale war.”

Many trucks carrying pipe are stuck in traffic jams, while all delivery deadlines to European clients have been missed, he added.

“Since there is a possibility of the strike expanding to other Eastern European countries, almost all pipe factories located in the front-line regions are facing a shutdown of production capacity as early as mid-December,” Polsky observes.

Ukraine’s pipemakers decreased production last year amid the ongoing Russian invasion to 608,000t, down by 38% on-year (see Kallanish passim).

They decreased exports in October compared with the previous month to 27,600t, down by 13.1% month-on-month and 37.5% less year-on-year. In January-October, Ukraine thus exported 305,410t of pipe, down by 12.3% on-year.

The main consumers of Ukrainian pipe were Germany, the USA, Romania and Poland.

In 2022, Ukraine’s pipemakers decreased exports to 400,400t, a reduction of 33.6% on-year.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria