"During the first month of the war, we did not export and instead focused on the safety of our team and loved ones. During this time, all supply chains were destroyed and ports were blocked. We redirected trucks with goods that were headed to Belarus and returned most of the trucks to their manufacturers. Some manufacturers refused to take them back, and we decided to donate such apples to the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," said Volodymyr Gurzhii, head of "AUSP-Fruit" LLC.
Together with the top Ukrainian logistics companies, it took us a month to develop test routes. There were many problems: shipping lines did not provide containers, and we did not have the opportunity to quickly ship apples to avoid long-term storage in warehouses. These factors seriously affected the company's economy.
We took risks and started exporting apples. We were told it was foolishness. But when you are an exporter, you cannot drop out of the market. We did too much for Ukrainian exports, and we could not lose it. Because if you even temporarily drop out of this very dense market, you simply lose your position.
Therefore, we finished last season with the confidence that exports are possible in the conditions of this war and will continue in 2023. Even though the situation was very critical for the industry, as well as for the entire economy of the country, we were still able to push this export forward in some way. Without exports today, as we see it, it is difficult for Ukrainian apple producers to survive."