In the period of 2000-2010, the share of inland waterway transport in the total cargo transport decreased from 0.8% to 0.3%. The share of the Polish IWW E70 section in this transport was: 2.0-3.4% in 2006-2008 and 9% in 2009-2010.
In 2010, inland waterway transport in the IWW E70 region reached 456 thousand tonnes and was almost exclusively due to local shipment, as evidenced by the average freight distance of only 4 km. There is an opportunity to change this situation by reviving the Polish part of the IWW E70, which will introduce a modern alternative to shipping commodities naturally suitable for water transport.
Inland waterway transport has an important quality of connecting inland centres with large sea ports and, consequently, with overseas markets. The use of river transport may also contribute to the transfer of part of the east-west transit traffic to waterways, thanks to the potential offered by the seaport of Elbląg. As a result of the IWW E70 revitalisation, this port will be capable of handling transits between Germany and Kaliningrad Oblast or other Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) and the Russian Federation. It is assumed that a marked improvement in the waterway parameters will be visible by 2017, the entire stretch of the Vistula-Oder connection will be adjusted to meet class II requirements by 2025, while the section of the lower Vistula will be a class IV waterway by that time. These assumptions are partly concurrent with the ‘Programme for development of inland waterway transport infrastructure in Poland’. By 2017, freight levels of 2.5 million tonnes per year should have been achieved on the Oder-Vistula section and 3 million tonnes on the lower Vistula. After class II parameters have been reached, the levels of transport services should increase to 8.5 million tonnes over 5 years ( i.e. 4 million tonnes on the Oder-Vistula connection and 4.5 million tonnes on the lower Vistula).
Based on the data regarding the Szczecin-Świnoujście port complex, forecasts have been prepared for transport in connections with seaports. From this port, an annual freight of 1.1-1.6 million tonnes is transported on barges, which makes 8.2-11.3% of the total freight. The Port of Gdańsk is assumed to have achieved a share of 10% of the total transport along the IWW E70, which will constitute approximately 3 million tonnes along the lower Vistula.
It is also assumed that, in the directional structure between Bydgoszcz and Kostrzyn, transport between IWW E70 ports will correspond to 50%, transport between seaports – 40%, and international freight will constitute 10%.
Due to small clearances under the bridges and low classes of the waterways at the first stage of the programme (up to 2025), shipping of containers will be possible in the lower section of the Oder, from Kostrzyn to Świnoujście, and on the Vistula, from Toruń to Gdańsk. When the second stage is achieved, which is planned for 2047, container shipping will be possible on the Oder, from Gliwice to Świnoujscie, and on the Vistula, from Warsaw to Gdańsk.
It is forecast that the container handling (in TEUs) in the selected inland ports of the IWW E70 will reach the following levels (port: stage I – stage II):
Toruń: 1,123 – 6,991,
Bydgoszcz: 1,746 – 10,808,
Grudziądz: 1,228 – 7,299,
Tczew: 294 – 1,617,
Kostrzyn nad Odrą/Gorzów Wlkp.: 1,120 – 7,208,
Total: 5,511 – 33,923.
It is also expected that inland ports will provide support services for large urban and industrial centres and the so-called ‘dry ports’.
In the period of 2017-2025, the average distance for international transport is supposed to be 200 km and 50 km for domestic transport. After 2025, this value will have increased to 100 km (after navigable waterway parameters on the lower Noteć have been improved). Estimated targeted shipping quantities will be 890 million ton-kilometres per year.
Source: Socio-economic analysis for the project titled ‘Revitalisation of the west-east inland waterway, including: the rivers: Oder, Warta, Noteć, the Bydgoszcz Canal, the rivers Brda, Vistula, Nogat, Szkarpawa and the Vistula Lagoon (planned waterway E70 in Poland).