Polish waterways discussed in Brussels and Antwerp

On 7 November 2012, a seminar was held at the European Parliament in Brussels, titled "Inland Waterways – all hands on board - how to improve transport connectivity in Europe?". At the seminar, the Letter of Intent regarding cooperation for economic revival along the proposed IWW E40, section Gdańsk-Bydgoszcz-Toruń-Warsaw, was re-signed and submitted to Marc Vanderhaegen (European Commission).

R. Świlski (Pomorskie Voivodeship) stressed the significance of maritime economy for Poland, presented the potential benefits from the development of ports in Gdynia and Gdańsk and the need to develop and expand transport infrastructure in the context of the growing demand for container transport inland. Sł. Kopyść (Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship) discussed the development of rivers in terms of their use for energy purposes and flood protection. L. Ruszczyk (Mazowieckie Voivodeship) spoke about the importance of lower Vistula project for sustainable regional development.  

Marc Vanderhaegen argued that the EU is committed to transfer 50% of road transport on waterways and railways and EUR 32 billion had been assigned for that purpose. The European Commission will start taking Polish suggestions only after Polish rivers are adapted to meet class IV requirements for navigability. Monika Niemiec-Butryn of the Ministry of Transport informed that the government is making preparations to develop a programme of revitalisation of the waterways in Poland (mainly the Oder and Vistula), and the developed programme will be a complementary document to the strategy of transport development.  

The seminar was combined with a study visit in the multi-modal port of Antwerp, where the International Waterway E70 has its origins. During the tour, participants learned about the the operation of the port, quantities of cargo handled, factors of the port's development and strategies for further operation.  

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