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On 18th October 2010, Eugeniusz Kłopotek, Member of the Polish Parliament, visited the Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority.

Jarosław Siergiej, Chairman of Board at the Seaports Authority, and other members of board and representatives of the Ports Stakeholders Council paid special attention to the following issues:

• charging VAT for port services,

• different methods of calculating perpetual usufruct fees, namely in ports of Gdynia and Gdańsk the rate is 0.3%, whereas in Świnoujście and Szczecin the rate is ten times higher (3%),

• necessity to dredge the fairway between Świnoujście and Szczecin to a technical depth of 12.5 m to enable servicing larger vessels in the Szczecin Seaport,

• lobbying for the recognition of the Central European Transport Corridor in EU policy papers,

• ensuring that the Nord Stream pipeline does not interrupt the development of ports of Szczecin and Świnoujście, and

• modernising the Oder River as an important inland waterway in the EU inland waterway network.

Jarosław Siergiej mentioned a need to dredge the fairway between Świnoujście and Szczecin to 12.5 m, a precondition for our ports to remain competitive against other ports on the Baltic Sea.
The meeting also discussed threats resulting from the Nord Stream pipeline.
- We should avoid a situation in which an international consortium hampers or even blocks the development of Polish ports, said representatives of the Ports Authority.
Representatives of the Szczecin Seaport Stakeholders Council provided the MP with information about activities aimed at reducing VAT from current 22% to 0% for port services and possibility of reducing the perpetual usufruct fee for land in the port from current 3% to 0.3%.

- It is a peculiar situation, since the rate in ports of Gdynia and Gdańsk is 0.3% whereas in Szczecin and Świnoujście 3%. In the same country the interpretation of law varies, said representatives of the Council.
Representatives of the Ports Authority emphasised the need to lobby for recognising the Central European Transport Corridor in EU policy papers and intensifying central and local government efforts to develop the Oder River as a major European transport route. It was highlighted that apart from Lübeck Szczecin is the only port on the Baltic Sea to enjoy a favourable connection with the European system of inland waterways, which is a very important competitive advantage in comparison with German ports.

Wojciech Sobecki