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The 18th International Oder-Havel College

On Wednesday, 24 September this year, in Liepe, Germany (about 100 km away from Szczecin), the 18th International Oder and Havel College was held. During the meeting, Dr Zbigniew Miklewicz, the Chairman of the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority, delivered a paper on the transport role of Oder.

Other speakers from Germany and Poland discussed waterways in the Oder and Havel region in the context of transport policies of the two countries. Presentations included investment in modernizing Oder-Havel waterways, including a new vessel lift of Niederfinow. It should be completed in 2017. It is planned that ships up to 110m in length are able to sail from the Rhein River to Szczecin, subject to certain limitation regarding drought and load. As regards container transport, the conference emphasized crucial role played by bridges. At the moment, two Bridges on the Oder-Havel Canal are adjusted and their clearance enables traffic of larger vessels.

The Berlin-Szczecin waterway is 100 years old. It included the vessel lift of Niederfinow developed 80 years ago. It a unique and the oldest facility of this type. It is situated in the Eberswalde River Valley between the Oder marshland and the Barnim county. Next to this historical and still operated lift, a twin facility is developed based on latest engineering standards.
It is expected that once the new lift starts operating it will boost the growth of river transport. It is worth adding that soon a Polish-German agreement on inland navigation is to be signed. On the Polish side, a number of investment projects have been planned to improve technical parameters of Oder.  All these activities are designed to develop an efficient North-South Transport Corridor passing through the Szczecin-Świnoujście port complex.

For several years now, the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority has been involved in various initiatives concentrating on the development of inland navigation which can significantly boost economic growth of cities and regions along the Oder River.