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“12.5m” in the debate on waterfronts

On 25th and 26th October the Waterfront Forum Szczecin 2012 was held in Szczecin. It is the third conference in a series focusing on economic, social, tourist and cultural development of Polish cities situated on rivers. According to the organizers, it is the largest event of this type in Poland. The conference covers current phenomena related to developing waterfronts, utilizing potential of water bodies and their relationship with the urban structure, comprehensive combination of various forms of human activity, and prospects and challenges related to the proximity of the sea, rivers and lakes and functioning of large cities.

The first day of the conference, held in the Radisson Hotel, focused to a large extent on dredging the Świnoujście-Szczecin fairway. The topic was presented during the contribution by the Chairman of Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority, as well as the speech of the Director of Maritime Office and that of the representative of the Westpomerania Marshal’s Office.
Dredging of the fairway to its technical depth of 12.5m is not only crucial for the development of the Szczecin seaport, but at the same time it is a strong impulse for the development of the entire region. In his contribution, Jarosław Siergiej, the Chairman of Seaports Authority, emphasized the range of activities implemented by the Port promoting the dredging of the fairway. The activities include a conference on that topic organized 3 years ago. Moreover, the port undertook steps to thoroughly justify and support the investment, especially because of its considerable financial consequences. This enables presenting benefits to decision makers, benefits which materialize during the investment stage as well as during operation. The outcome of the investment will benefit the port of Szczecin, the region, as well as the sea-land transport chain supporting trade involving ports of Szczecin and Świnoujście. Additionally, while lobbying, the Seaports Authority is involved in developing strategic documents at the country and regional levels. Thus, the documents include provisions underlying the necessity to improve parameters of the fairway.
In his speech, Chairman Siergiej presented specific concepts for improving port berths to planned parameters of the fairway.
Of course, the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority can only lobby for the idea of dredging the fairway. Being responsible for managing of the port infrastructure, it should create the best conditions for operation of port companies. However, the Świnoujście-Szczecin fairway and its modernization or dredging is the task of the maritime administration, namely the Maritime Office of Szczecin.
Therefore, during the debate, a representative of the Maritime Office of Szczecin also took the floor. In his contribution, Andrzej Borowiec, the Director of the Maritime Office, confirmed technical capacity to implement the project and presented challenges faced by the Maritime Office while implementing such a large investment.
Contributions made by panellists, including the one by a representative of the Marshal’s Office and showed that the 12.5m project integrates all local groups.