• ITVI.USA
    12,549.870
    42.280
    0.3%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.858
    0.002
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    8.400
    -0.060
    -0.7%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,606.440
    42.640
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.780
    -0.050
    -1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.390
    -0.270
    -10.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.800
    -0.040
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.160
    -0.030
    -1.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.990
    -0.020
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.880
    -0.060
    -2%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    6.000
    5%
  • ITVI.USA
    12,549.870
    42.280
    0.3%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.858
    0.002
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    8.400
    -0.060
    -0.7%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,606.440
    42.640
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.780
    -0.050
    -1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.390
    -0.270
    -10.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.800
    -0.040
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.160
    -0.030
    -1.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.990
    -0.020
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.880
    -0.060
    -2%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    6.000
    5%
NewsTop Stories

Freight Caviar: 3 stories from Ukraine that will tug at your heartstrings

Human impact in Ukraine can be seen in these 3 friends

This commentary was written by Freight Caviar founder Paul-Bernard Jaroslawski. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FreightWaves or its affiliates.

By Paul-Bernard Jaroslawski

I was born and raised in Chicago to parents who immigrated from Poland. However, I spent many summers in Poland and other parts of Europe. I always dreamed of working and living in Europe. 

Therefore, when Everest Transportation Systems asked me if I would relocate to Kyiv, Ukraine, to open an office for the company, I jumped on the idea. I couldn’t wait to move. So I started reading about Ukrainian history, watching American YouTubers who live in Kyiv and connecting with expats residing in Kyiv.

Finally, I made the move to Kyiv. It was Nov. 11, 2017. I don’t recall many dates throughout my life, but this one holds a special place in my heart. 

I ended up spending three years (arguably the best three years of my life) in Ukraine. I built an outsourced freight brokerage from four to almost 100 people throughout those years. I made countless friends and memories. All of the FreightCaviar memes I have made come from situations booking freight in Ukraine. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted the lives of many people I know. Although for many people in America, Ukraine may just be a third-world country, it is home to thousands of outsourced dispatchers and freight brokers the logistics industry works with daily.

At the time of the invasion, Everest’s office in Kyiv had almost 200 employees, all working daily on the U.S. market. Some people may be opposed to outsourcing — and I get that. However, the global economy and ecosystem we live in depend on outsourcing. The outsourcing of jobs is what develops economies. Companies that outsource jobs to other countries give opportunities to those who weren’t fortunate to be born in the States.

I would like to focus on three individuals who have worked as freight brokers or dispatchers for the last three years and have had their lives changed because Russia invaded Ukraine. Those three individuals are Alex, Vicky and Eli.

Alex

Alex, an ex-manager at Everest and currently a dispatcher at MB Global Logistics, was in Kyiv at the time of the invasion. He quickly packed up his belongings and headed to Kaminets Podolski, which is in the southwest part of Ukraine, about 60 kilometers from the Moldavian border. 

Kaminets is a relatively safe place during this time. Due to its close distance to Moldova, the supply chain of food and other goods hasn’t faced difficulties as in different regions of Ukraine. 

Most places have essential products, such as diapers, food and petroleum. 

Therefore, Alex contacted his friends in Kyiv and asked them what they needed. He filled his entire car and a small trailer with diapers, food and other goods before making the dangerous journey to Kyiv. 

Since then, Alex has made this journey several times and is continuously risking his own life to help those in need in Kyiv.

Vicky

Vicky was the first person I had ever hired. I remember to this day the first conversation we had over Skype. It was my first week in Ukraine, and my boss told me to interview her. 

I could sense the positive energy Vicky had from the moment I talked to her. When we were wrapping our conversation, she asked, “Paul, did I get the job? Is the job mine?” 

I didn’t even know if I could hire her without my boss’ approval. However, she was so adamant and had such great energy that I replied, “Sure.” Thinking back, that wasn’t the best response, but I didn’t know how to respond. I told my boss about the situation, and we both chuckled. 

Vicky ended up sitting right next to me for exactly three years. Three different offices, and she was always beside me. We even vacationed together in Turkey right after I left Everest. Therefore Vicky holds a very special place in my heart. She is beautiful, intelligent and kind. 

However, her story leaves me in tears.

Her family is from Brovary, just east of Kyiv, right next to the main airport KBP (Borispol). Vicky and her family packed their belongings and fled on the day of the invasion to drive toward Romania. They waited over 30 hours to cross the border due to the number of cars that wanted to flee Ukraine. 

On the day of the invasion, Ukraine announced martial law, with any man between 18 and 60 forbidden to leave the country. Vicky’s father is 58. He was forbidden to cross into Romania, so Vicky, her mother and her son had to leave him behind.

Eli

Eli is a dispatcher at Everest Transit. Many freight brokers work with Eli daily. 

A month before the war, when tensions were already high, I messaged Eli and asked him what his thoughts were on the whole situation. He told me he wasn’t sure if Russia would invade; however, he said he had all his cash and documents at home in one place. If Russia were to invade, he would flee from Kyiv immediately. 

On the day of the invasion, Eli was ready and took his girlfriend and family to the western part of Ukraine, which is relatively safe. So he dropped them off.

Then he signed up for the military.

I like to think about how lucky we are that we are not forced to flee our homes. Although I live about an hour away from the border, I am safe and with my family. I don’t need to risk my life to bring goods, I don’t need to leave my father at the border, and I don’t need to sign up for the military. 

These individuals are all part of the same industry we work in. It is devastating to see the toll it has taken on the people close to me. I cannot wait for the day that this ends and I can return to Ukraine and enjoy the amazing hospitality, culture and history the Ukrainian people have to offer.


Watch: Freight Caviar founder Paul-Bernard Jaroslawski

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes MB Global Logistics (No. 341).

Contributed Content

Note: FreightWaves occasionally publishes commentary from industry sources with expertise, information and opinion on current transportation topics. The opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of FreightWaves. Submissions to FreightWaves are subject to editing.