On 28 April 2017, EFIP members gathered in Szczecin (Poland) for their Executive Committee meeting. The meeting was hosted by the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority, which is member of EFIP since September 2016.
The port complex of Szczecin-Świnoujście is one of the largest complexes in the Baltic area. The ports are of primary significance for the Polish economy. As part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), they have access to a well-developed hinterland transport system.
Dariusz Słaboszewski, the President of the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority said: “I am honoured that as only Polish member of EFIP we could host this Executive Committee. EFIP is an important partner for us on the EU-level and I am happy to have been able to share our ambitions and challenges on further developing hinterland and waterway connections with key European inland ports.”
During their meeting, the EFIP members discussed different (political) issues, like CEF-financing for key port infrastructure, EU legislation on combined transport, circular economy and energy, data collection in inland ports, etc. Special attention was paid to digitalisation in inland ports. A new position paper on this topic was presented at the meeting and can be found here.
The economic portential of the Oder Waterway
The theme of the interactive open session was “Unlocking the economic potential of the Oder Waterway for ports, Poland and the EU”. The session was opened by Mr Jerzy Materna, the Polish Secretary of State in the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways. He highlighted the importance of cooperation with EFIP members about the legislative requirements for developing inland waterways. He also stressed that including the Oder river in the TEN-T network is a crucial next step. The theme of the open session was discussed from three different angles: the European perspective, a national Polish perspective and the point of view of the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority.
Mr Kazimierz Drzazga (Deputy CEO of the Szczecin and Swinoujscie Seaports Authroity), Mr Jerzy Materna (Polish Secretary of State in the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways), Mr Roland Hörner (EFIP president), Mr Alexander van den Bosch (EFIP Director)
Firstly, Marta Wolska (DG MOVE, Seconded Official - Seconded National Expert of the Unit Inland Waterways and Ports) highlighted the European agenda for the Oder Waterway. She stressed that “sustainable development of the European Waterway Network is an essential step within the EU transport policy”.
Secondly, the national Polish perspective and the development plans of the Polish Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation were presented by Monika Niemiec-Butryn (Director of the Department of Inland Navigation). Mrs. Niemiec-Butryn highlighted the governmental vision towards 2030: programmes, planned projects and bottlenecks to be solved.
Finally, Mr Zbigniew Antonowicz (Chairman of the Association Odrą w Świat) and Mr Rafal Czyzyk (Vice-president of Odrą w Świat and advisor to the Council of Stakeholders of the Ports of Szczecin and Swinoujscie) discussed the potential demand for inland waterway transport for the Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście. During their presentation, they highlighted that "all the sides involved, i.e. the government, both local and central, the business community and the NGO's have to present one standpoint towards the restauration of the Odra Waterway".
Ms Marta Wolska, Mr Rafal Czyzyk and Mr Zbigniew Antonomicz
These three perspectives came together in a general discussion in which members reflected on the possibilities and the potential of the Oder Waterway. “During our visits in the port, we have experienced in practice the huge economic potential of combined transport and inland waterway transport, especially the E-30 waterway crossing at the Port of Szczecin–Świnoujście. Besides, I believe that the Oder River Waterway is still a missing link in the European Waterway TEN-T network. In this respect, we are looking forward to strengthen our cooperation as EFIP provides the right platform for exchanging experiences on how to tackle the challenge of creating international navigability”, summarises Roland Hörner, the EFIP President.
Background information on EFIP
The European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) brings together nearly 200 inland ports and port authorities in 16 countries of the European Union, Switzerland and Ukraine. Additionally, EFIP also has an observer member in Serbia: the Group for Ports and Wharfs of the CCIS.
Since 1994, EFIP has been the voice of the inland ports in Europe. EFIP highlights and promotes the role of inland ports. EFIP actively follows all developments in the field of EU policy that are of importance to inland ports and it represents the inland ports vis-à-vis the European institutions and other international bodies. EFIP offers its members the possibility to exchange information, expertise and best practices with colleagues in other countries.
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