Ukrainian Railways (UZ) says that low winter temperatures which led to freezing of bulk freight, the slowing down of the loading and unloading process as well as traffic restrictions were to blame for the decline.

However, exports and imports bucked the trend, with exports increasing by 17.8% to 8.34 million tonnes, while imports increased by 8.9% to 32.4 million tonnes between January and March 2013.

Coal accounted for the highest of all imported commodities following a 27.4% overall increase, with 85% of the coal intended for steel production and coking.