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ON THURSDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER, POLAND’S 1ST INLAND WATERWAYS CONGRESS TOOK PLACE AT THE EXHIBITION AND CONGRESS CENTRE IN OPOLE

The meeting was held under the honorary auspices of Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The Prime Minister addressed a letter to the participants, read out by the Opolskie Voivode (Governor) Adrian Czubak. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the development of river transport. The participants included trade experts, local authorities and policy makers.

Poland's Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways Marek Gróbarczyk emphasised the efficiency of inland water transport. For example, the distance over which a tonne of cargo can be transported with the same energy input is the greatest for inland water transport, at 370km, with trains as the runner-up at 300km and trucks coming third at 100km. Unfortunately, until now this mode of transport had been neglected. In accordance with the Minister's declaration, the current government will attempt to change this.

The CEO of the PGW WP Polish Water Holding Przemysław Daca informed the participants about the key challenges in inland water transport, i.e. the construction of new barrages on the River Oder at Ścinawa and Libiąż and on the River Vistula at Siarzewo. It is also a priority to complete the construction of the Racibórz Reservoir as soon as possible.

Next, the Congress featured debates divided into several thematic panels. The subjects included water projects in the nearest perspective, freight transport on rivers and state-of-the-art solutions for shipping. There were parallel sessions on the need to train young personnel in inland shipping and on the significance of river shipyards for the development of inland water transport. These discussions were run by experts from the water transport sector and the Ministry of Maritime Economy. Participants from the Czech Republic and Slovakia were also involved in the discussions.

The Congress had three priority objectives:

– expand the debate on the current status and development prospects of Polish rivers;

– attract the business sector's interest in inland water transport;

– show development prospects for the future young personnel.

The Congress' side events included an IWW E70 exhibit. At the promotional stand, visitors learned about the joint actions of the Lubuskie, Wielkopolskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Pomorskie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie voivodeships (provinces) for the Polish section of IWW E70.

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