On June 1, the Slovenian government introduced new regulations for trucks heavier than 7.5 tons transiting Slovenia on a key road freight corridor which connects Central Europe with south-eastern Europe and Turkey. These vehicles will no longer be allowed to use six border crossings with Croatia in the south of the country. Since the beginning of June, the restrictions have led to increased congestion at other border crossings as traffic started to divert, causing longer waiting times and additional transportation costs. With the holiday period starting soon, congestion issues at border crossings are likely to worsen for cargo traffic between July and early September.
Six border crossings closed to reduce truck traffic
The Slovenian government has banned transit traffic in order to improve the safety and quality of life of the local population. The affected border crossings include Starod, Jelšane, Bistrica ob Sotli, Zavrč, Dobovec, and Središče ob Dravi in the south of the country where more than 1,000 trucks pass small villages to or from Croatia every day. Exceptions reportedly apply to trucks from cities bordering Slovenia and from the nearby Croatian regions of Istarska, Primorsko-Goranska, and Ličko-Senjska. According to sources, there will be no restrictions for trucks which deliver or pick-up shipments in Slovenia.
Slovenian-Croatian border crossings (red indicates those closed for trucks in transit);
Truck drivers plan to protest as ministers meet on June 13
Since June 4, Croatian media sources have reported about complaints on increased waiting times for trucks at the border crossings of Gruskovje and Obrezje as truck drivers started to reroute from the blocked border crossings. This led the Association of Croatian Road Hauliers to announce discussions of a potential protest and road blockades on an unspecified date. On June 10, representatives from the Croatian and Slovenian transport ministries then scheduled a meeting for June 13 to find a solution to the growing congestion issue. A proposal reportedly foresees opening 17 smaller border crossings between Slovenia and Croatia only for haulers from the two countries.
Outlook and recommendations
As trucks transiting Slovenia are now forced to use a limited number of border crossings to or from Croatia, supply chains relying on road freight services through south-eastern Europe have slowed in recent weeks. On June 12, waiting times of several hours for trucks were still reported at the Gruskovje and Obrezje border crossings, both located on major highways connecting to the cities of Maribor and Ljubljana. A potential protest by Croatian truck drivers would likely further disrupt road traffic, forcing trucks to take lengthy diversions through Hungary and Austria to bypass Slovenia.
Should the disruption last until the start of the holiday season in July, additional passenger vehicle traffic and congestion can be expected at key border crossings between Slovenia and Croatia until at least early September. To reduce transit times and associated transportation costs, customers are advised to closely monitor the situation at key border crossings and consider re-routing transit traffic to either Gruškovje, Obrežje, or Sečovlje border crossings depending on current waiting times.