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CONNECTING BY INLAND NAVIGATION INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN WROCŁAW

Poland's first international conference on inland waterways was held on 18-19 April 2018 in Wrocław. The Connecting by Inland Navigation (Żegluga Łączy) symposium was organised by Poland's Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways and by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)'s Inland Transport Committee

The aim of the conference was to provide a meeting place for representatives of international institutions, leaders and experts on the growth of transport and to draw their attention to the need to develop the inland water transport sector. One of the assumptions of the conference was to strengthen European and international awareness of the opportunities which can be provided by inland water transport.

In his opening address, Poland's Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways Marek Gróbarczyk highlighted the actions of the Polish government aimed at the navigability development of Polish rivers. The Minister emphasised that as many as three international waterways run through Poland: E30, which connects the Baltic Sea with the Danube; E40, which connects the Baltic Sea with the Black Sea; and E70, which connects the Port of Antwerp with the Port of Klaipeda. He also remarked that Poland also intends to make use of the experience of other countries where, for many years, inland shipping has been part of intermodal transport.

During the two days of debates and meetings, the subjects included the sustainable development of inland waterways, current navigability development projects worldwide, development trends and new technologies in inland water transport, work and education, ecology and the legal instruments used globally to make inland water transport easier. The experience of the river water transport committees for the Danube, the Sava, the Rhine and others proved very interesting. It is worth mentioning that many topics addressed at the conference covered new trends in water transport infrastructure, i.e. digitisation, environmental management instruments, innovative materials, asset maintenance management, infrastructure use optimisation (RIS navigation systems), emission standards and reduction of air pollution for ships (including LNG carriers), automation of ships and handling, and renewable energy.

The final result of the Conference was the signing of an international declaration of cooperation for inland water transport development. The declaration specifies strategic actions which oblige its signatories to improve inland water transport all over the world and to promote the sustainable development of this mode of transport.


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