A conference on restoration of the E40 waterway, linking the Baltic and Black Seas, was held at the Polish Parliament

2014-05-28

More than 100 politicians, high-ranking officials, diplomats and experts from Belarus, Poland and Ukraine took part in the conference “Baltic Sea – Black Sea: Restoration of the Water Route E40”, which was conducted at the Polish Parliament in Warsaw on May 22, 2014. The participants spoke in favor of making the transport artery fully functioning and appealed to the Government, President, Sejm and Senate of the Republic of Poland for backing the initiative.

The E40 waterway comprises four rivers: Vistula, Bug, Pripyat and Dnieper. Its overall length is more than 2000 kilometers, but today only its Polish section on the Bug, between Warsaw and Brest, cannot be used for navigation. The resolution of this problem will bring the Polish business a new, quite fast and economical channel to export products, including goods from the other European Union countries. In particular, Piotr Bauć, who represents the parliamentary group “Poland – the Eastern Partnership countries”, noted that the Scandinavian and German entrepreneurs are highly interested in the initiative. According to calculations of Polish experts, transportation of goods along the E40 waterway, while taking 21 days less, will require three times less fuel and will help to ease the burden on the seaports of Gdansk and Gdynia.

However, the Polish environmentalists demonstrate only limited optimism regarding the possible restoration of the E40 waterway. First, the unnavigable section from Warsaw to Brest passes through the territory of two national parks. Second, it is necessary to build additional dams and cascades on the Vistula to maintain the water level sufficient for shipping heavy cargo. However, construction flaws may only aggravate the issue of frequent floods which occur on the main Polish river. At the same time, the inland water transport is still one of the most ecological means of delivering goods. Its emission of CO2 per one ton-kilometer is 1.5 times lower compared to the rail transport, and 5 times lower compared to the truck transport.

Regarding Belarus and Ukraine, producers from these states will receive an additional access to the ports on the Baltic Sea thanks to the restoration of navigation along the entire water artery. Moreover, these countries will be able to count on an increase in transit shipping, which is quite important given the development of the Customs Union. Of course, the inflow of tourists will grow as well.  

At the end of the event its participants approved a declaration, in which they claimed their willingness to intensify work on the restoration of the waterway and to forge cooperation with all relevant stakeholders. On the basis of this document they also appealed to the Government, President, Sejm and Senate of the Republic of Poland for backing the realization of the initiative.

In the course of one year the declaration will be reinforced by a comprehensive technical and economic justification for reconstruction of the E40 route. It will be developed on the basis of an international tender and under control of the special cross-border Commission, where Belarusian, Polish and Ukrainian experts work together. A requirements specification for developing such a justification was finalized by the working groups of the Commission one day before the meeting in Warsaw, on May 21, which certainly helped to make it a success.

The establishment of the Commission in Brest in March 2014 and the organization of the conference in Warsaw became possible thanks to the project "Restoration of the E40 Waterway on the Dnieper-Vistula Section: From Strategy to Planning”. It has been realized within the Cross-border Cooperation Program Poland-Belarus-Ukraine for 2007-2013. The overall budget of the initiative is 912 657 Euro, 90% of them come as cofinancing from the EU.

Contact:

Mr. Andrey Rekesh, Secretary of the Commission on the development of the E40 waterway on the Dnieper-Vistula section, tel.  +375 (165) 30-11-76, +375 (44) 785-13-58, secretary@e40restoration.eu.

Ms. Marina Borisova, project's communication and visibility manager (Local Foundation for Promotion of International Dialogue and Cooperation “Interakcia”). E-mail: borisova@eu-belarus.net, tel./fax: + 375 17 237 48 40, mobile: + 375 17 873 35 82

Press articles and TV reports about the conference and other project activities: https://www.facebook.com/groups/e40restoration/

Information: project “Restoration of the E40 waterway on the Dnieper-Vistula section: from strategy to planning” is being implemented within the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine cross-border cooperation programme for 2007-2013. The programme is funded by the European Union within the European Partnership and Neighbourhood Instrument. Project partners: Republican unitary maintenance and construction enterprise "Dnepro-Bug  Waterway" (Lead Partner, Belarus), Brest Regional (Oblast) Executive Committee (Belarus), Local Foundation for Promotion of International Dialogue and Cooperation “Interakcia” (Belarus), Volyn Regional Department of Water Resources (Ukraine), Public Organization “Volyn Association of Scientists and Innovators” (Ukraine), Marshal Office of the Lubelskie Voivodeship in Lublin (Poland), Association for regional and local development “Progress” (Poland).

 

“This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Maryna Borisova Local Foundation for Promotion of International Dialogue and Cooperation "Interakcia" and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.”