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Oder routes leading to the Baltic Sea

On 1st October 2013, a cruise on board of a river passenger ship was held together with a debate on Oder routes leading to the Baltic Sea. The meeting was organized by several entities, including the National Chamber of Maritime Economy, Szczecin Seaport Stakeholder Council, Short Sea Shipping Promotion Office and the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority.

Invitations were sent to all companies operating in the port, local governments and various authorities. Invited guests included heads of three regional governments from regions on the Oder River, namely Zachodniopomorskie, Lubuskie and Dolnośląskie, as well as mayors of cities, MPs from the regions, senators and members of the Szczecin City Council and the Regional Parliament of the Zachodniopomorskie Region.

Speakers representing various entities included Ryszard Warzocha, the Chairman of the Seaports Authority, who emphasised the need to improve access to the ports form land to promote their development. 'All modes of transport, including rail, road and water, may stimulate the development of the port by attracting cargo and strengthening the position of the port on the Baltic Sea', said the Chairman.

During the cruise, participants learned about the development of project documentation, including environmental permits, planning permits, tender documentation for refurbishment, modernization and repair at particular sections of CE59 (Oder Railway Line), E59 (Szczecin - Poznań ), E59 (Poznań - Wrocław) and the programme for improving rail access to the ports of Szczecin and Świnoujście. Participants also discussed the advancement of developing the S-3 Expressway on its all sections, as well as listened to the presentation on plans related to improving navigability on the Oder River and its use.

During the cruise, participants were surveyed regarding the need to implement various activities improving status of Oder routes, including navigability of the Oder River and international effort promoting the Oder-Danube-Elbe Canal, modernization of the Oder Railway Line, completion of the S3 Expressway to the border with the Czech Republic,  dredging of the waterway to Szczecin to 12.5m, implementing the 2006 Oder Programme and including the goal of achieving class 4 navigability on the Oder in the Transport Development Strategy. Findings of the survey and conclusions of the meeting will be sent out to members of the central and local governments.

While summarising the cruise, participants emphasized the need to pool together forces of all regions on the Oder River as regards the development of Oder routes. Undertaking joint initiatives is the only chance to promote sustainable development of Oder routes.