France and Poland to work together on inland water transport

French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne visited Warsaw on Friday at the invitation of Polish Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways Marek Grobarczyk. Talks concerned inland water transport, investment in Polish rivers, and the decarbonisation of maritime transport.

Minister Grobarczyk also invited his French counterpart to take part in World Maritime Day in Szczecin (northern Poland).

Minister Grobarczyk emphasised that restoring inland shipping was a government priority. Poland is an example of determination in the fight to return shipping to the Oder and Wisla rivers. In a short time, the ministry has managed to ascend to the AGN convention (European Agreement on Main Inland Waterways of International Importance) and adopt the appropriate strategic documents.

Minister Grobarczyk praised the French system of inland waterways, and Minister Borne expressed France's readiness to work together on the exchange of experience. She proposed organising a Polish-French meeting of the river management administration, during which France would present its planning, financing and management models for rivers combining transport, anti-flood protection, tourism, energy and water economy. She also invited Minister Grobarczyk to visit dams on the Seine, locks on the river Rhone and the inland port of Paris.

The two ministers agreed that inland waterway transport is an area of agreement between Poland and France and that it creates potential for effective co-operation. It is also an area in which staff training and scientific exchange are essential. France therefore intends to make available to Poland a collection of good practices for carrying out investment, specifically in connection with cross-border projects. An example model is construction of the Seine - Northern Europe inland canal which connects Paris to the European system of waterways and sea ports.

The parties also agreed on the need to seek the necessary EU funding to carry out river transport investments and to include Polish waterways in the European TEN-T transport network.