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The 7th International Maritime Congress

On 5 and 6 September this year, in Szczecin, the 7th International Maritime congress was held, which attracted 600 attendees from all over the world. The Congress is one of major events for the maritime sector. Attendees included ministers responsible for the sector, as well as transport, infrastructure and development. The Congress also attracted leaders of international companies and maritime sector organizations, including ports and shipyards, as well as representatives of education and administration.

The inaugural speech was delivered by Marek Gróbarczyk, the Polish Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Shipping. According to the minister, some of the most important topics of the Congress included the Three Seas Initiative and the process of building strong north-south links, as well as road, rail and waterway infrastructure. In the context of those links, the discussion on the Świnoujście-based container terminal seemed to be particularly relevant, since it is expected to create new opportunities for the ports of Szczecin and Świnoujście.

The Minister also announced that the discussion on the budget for the Danube-Elbe-Oder canal was in progress. He also emphasised that it fits very well into the project of the modernization of Polish ports. ‘Last year, the ports noted a record high cargo handling levels of 100 m tons that we all can be proud of. Since we need to prepare for the future development, the Polish government undertook to draft a special law on the building of the central port in Gdańsk, outer port in Gdynia and a container terminal in Świnoujście.’

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sent a letter to attendees of the Congress. The letter was read by Krzysztof Zaremba, a member of the Polish Parliament and a deputy head of the parliamentary maritime economy committee.  In his letter, the Prime Minister wrote: ‘the Maritime Economy is the world’s trade gateway, it supports the competition for shipbuilding contracts, and promotes wind energy, food production and mining industries.’ (…) ‘Since its development depends primarily on the use of advanced technologies, the maritime sector stimulates research and innovation.’

On the first day of the Congress, a letter of understanding was signed to promote cooperation between the ports of Szczecin and Świnoujście and the Italian port of Trieste. It provides for the exchange of information and good practices related to the port operation, as well as the establishing of joint expert teams. 
On the second day of the Congress, attendees continued their discussions in three theme sessions. Session one focused on shipping, ports and shipyards, session two on innovation and session three on education.

Minister Marek Gróbarczyk closed the Congress by saying: ‘Already today I should invite everyone to the 8th Maritime Congress to be held in 2020. For certain, Poland’s candidature to become a member of the IMO Council and play its active role in the drafting of international law will be a very important topic.’ (Monika Woźniak-Lewandowska)