Troubled Waters

Polish Waters

Polish Waters

Poland’s inland waterways are underexploited and underdeveloped. They barely account for 0.2% of the country’s total inland transport. In comparison, the proportion is 17% in Germany. The global trend is to promote water transport. Meanwhile, only 10% of Polish waterways have the operability parameters required by the 2002 resolution on the classification of inland waterways. Although the authorities admit that Poland needs to do a great deal in this area, two ministries seem to be acting at cross-purposes. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Development intends to allocate PLN 4 billion to enhance the navigability of Polish rivers. The plans may, however, be thwarted by the Environment Ministry whose draft water bill envisages a considerable rise in charges for water transport of goods and passengers as well as for the use of sluices. As a result, river transport might prove significantly more expensive than that by motorway. The ministry wants to determine new rates for passing through sluices as a percentage of the minimum remuneration. That will quintuple the effective costs. Boatswains from The Oder Marinas Association protest, concerned that tourism, which has recently been experiencing a much welcome revival, will run aground. Sailing 224 km from Gliwice to Brzeg Dolny, you pass through 29 sluices. And the total charges on this route coukd reach PLN 2,030, with the cost of motorway travel by car at the same distance costing approximately PLN 23. Even if you drive an old truck compliant with only Euro 3 emission standards, the costs will not exceed PLN 1,000. The Oder Marinas Association wants small vessels to be exempt from sluice gate charges. Otherwise, few people will be able to afford a river boat trip, few companies will choose water transport, and projects, some already well advanced, run by both local governments and private investors to build river ports on the Oder will become pointless. Experts estimate the costs of bringing the Vistula up to the navigability standard required for efficient transport at PLN 30 billion. It remains to be seen whether public financing and ministerial legislative proposals will contribute to bringing Polish waterways up to scratch.
Puls Biznesu

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One comment

  1. FloridasBigDigLawyer · March 11, 2015

    Reblogged this on Florida's Big Dig.


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