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Cezary Grabarczyk and Stanisław Gawłowski, respectively the Minister of Infrastructure and Deputy Minister of Environment in Donald Tusk’s Government, paid a visit to the Szczecin Seaport upon the invitation of Jarosław Siergiej, the Chairman of Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority.

Apart from representatives of the board of the Seaports Authority, the meeting was attended by chairmen of operating companies.
- I am proud to state that although port companies compete in various fields with each other, they speak with one voice regarding key issues for the whole port complex, said Jarosław Siergiej while opening the meeting.
The Chairman of the Seaports Authority discussed with the Minister of Infrastructure the VAT Law interpretation. That issue is often raised by the maritime community in the region, since the current law diminishes the competitiveness of operating companies. Another issue discussed was the fee for perpetual lease of port land. In ports of Gdańsk and Gdynia, the fee is 0.3% of such land value, whereas in Szczecin and Świnoujście users pay 3% due to a different interpretation of laws. This has a major impact on the financial situation in companies leasing such land. Reducing those fees should enable companies designating additional funding for investment, which improves competitiveness of individual companies and the port as a whole.
During the meeting, participants put much attention to the need of dredging the fairway between Świnoujście and Szczecin to its technical depth of 12.5 m and including the Central European Transport Corridor in the national and EU policy papers.
- We need to ask ourselves about the future role of Szczecin and Świnoujście seaports in a perspective of more than ten years. If we want the ports to develop and compete with German ports supported by the Federal Government, we have to find resources to dredge the fairway linking Świnoujście and Szczecin, said Jarosław Siergiej.
Representatives of the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority expressed their concern regarding the routing of the Nord Stream pipeline.
- We successfully negotiated that the pipeline would be dredged down on the Western Route so traffic to Polish ports would not be blocked. Our German partners ensured us that the pipeline can be dug down on the northern approach in the future. It should also be possible to dig the pipeline into the seabed during its operation, stated Minister Grabarczyk.
- I am impressed with the co-existence of the port with beautiful natural areas. During my last visit when we took a cruise around the port, I was impressed to see a white-tailed eagle close to port cranes, said the Minister of Infrastructure.
The Deputy Environment Minister Stanisław Gawłowski stated that the Oder River would be gradually modernised to provide for barge navigation from Gliwice to Szczecin for 300 days per annum in a couple of years.
Concluding the meeting, Jarosław Siergiej presented the most important investment plans of the company, including modernising rail and road systems in the ports, extending the Zbożowe Quay at the Ewa Silo, and building a new ferry berth in the port of Świnoujście. In the coming five years, the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority intends to invest nearly PLN700 million.

Wojciech Sobecki