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