October 26, 2017

Coordinating Secretariat for Maritime Issues “16 + 1” as the key to maritime economy development

In Poland, the era of maritime economy is beginning now. This is evidenced by all the figures and facts. The growing number of transshipments in ports and the diversity of these transshipments is a fact. The development of ports, the central port, the Szczecin- Świnoujście deepwater terminal, the expansion of the port of Gdynia and the development of smaller ports are the facts. Everything in this respect that you read in the daily media is true. Our ports are more and more competitive, modern and customer-friendly, and they are developing quickly. This entitles us to take on the task of running the Secretariat. The maritime economy era is also reflected in the reconstruction of the ship-building industry. A keel for the new ferry, “Green Shipyard”, project “Batory” – I do not nee to talk about the details, because you know these projects very well – this is also something that builds it.

In addition to maritime economy, the Secretariat has also the inland waterway area under its supervision. This is a very important part of our work. The great challenge that we face is to restore the navigability of rivers as a part of the infrastructure providing access to Polish ports. It is also necessary to improve all transport routes operating in Poland by including the Oder and the Vistula into them. Tenders for feasibility studies on both rivers are going to be published soon. We thank for the contribution made by Polish ports in preparing the documents, and in participating in the everyday work on bringing back the navigability of Polish rivers.

Maritime economy cannot exist without international cooperation. Our Secretariat would not exist without the involvement of all the countries that participate in its work. We feel that we were working side by side during the preparations for the current meeting.

We envisage the Secretariat’s operation just like the preparations for this meeting: we will do it together, in a constant dialogue, and we will respond to your needs and interests – not only regarding the sea and shipping, because it is not possible to separate the maritime Secretariat from other transport paths and from intermodality. This is why we are holding this meeting under the slogan of intermodality. We hope that the involvement of all countries associated in the “16 + 1” format will be constant. For our part, we promise that we will involve you all the time, in all the work.

And here are the specific issues. We will hold regular meetings at the level of heads of ministries, experts, directors of international cooperation and maritime economy. We are very open to the subjects that you suggest: to expert meetings devoted to solving specific problems, to the presentation of good experiences, and to any forums that you would like to initiate. We want to meet not only in Poland. We are initiating this meeting in Poland, but we are open to further meetings with your participation in partnership with other countries that co-participate in “16 + 1”.

Another important area for us is the exchange of information. It is very important to treat our Secretariat as a forum for gaining partners and investors. We are open to your suggestions of projects, and we will help wherever there is a need for wider international cooperation and specific solutions. Both our website and the bulletin, as well as other tools available at the Secretariat, will be helpful. This way, we want to support you in your everyday work. During yesterday’s presentations, we could hear about a lot of these projects, so we certainly have material for the first issues. We will ask you to send us these studies. Please, trust us in the matter of acquiring partners and entities for potential cooperation in the field of maritime economy and inland waterway transport. It is often a job that you do not have time to fit in your daily routine, and we will be happy to take care of it. We are here to serve, support and develop these good ideas together.

The dimension of ports is of particular importance in the work of our Secretariat. Today we have 13 sea ports in the countries of the “sixteen. It was not planned, but it was confirmed that the dimension of the ports is extremely important for the Secretariat, and we want to treat this aspect as a priority. Soon, we will start a thematic study visit programme of individual ports. We will encourage you to visit ports, initiate debates about their daily work and search for solutions. We would like to organize these visits together, in all ports, not only in the Polish ones. We want to be the voice of the region in relationship to China, a common voice of the maritime economy within “16 + 1”, and also a voice that will be heard outside the “16 + 1” group. We will strive to ensure that this format of cooperation functions not only within the group, but also in the area of ​​the European Union, IMO and wherever we can act as a strong group and present some solutions that remain in our common interest.

Poland invites to the next meeting, which will be held in Szczecin. On the occasion of the World Sea Days, during which we will host all IMO member states and at the same time celebrate the anniversary of the IMO, we will want to organize a meeting of the Coordinating Secretariat for Maritime Affairs. This does not mean that we always have to meet in Poland. If you want to organize meetings in other countries, we will be happy to take part in them. Gdańsk, Gdynia, Szczecin, and Świnoujście are waiting.

Deputy Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation of the Republic of Poland, Anna Moskwa