Everything indicates that at the end of this year the first ships will sail through the Vistula Spit Canal, deputy minister of infrastructure Marek Gróbarczyk told Polish Radio 24 on Tuesday.
– As we assumed, it will be this year, the second half of this year. We don’t want to give a specific date, because we have a difficult part of launching the watertight gates ahead of us. It is the first such investment in Poland, so there will probably be difficulties in making everything work properly, but everything indicates that at the end of this year the first ships will sail through the Spit,” said Gróbarczyk.
He added that opening the channel through the spit means development opportunities for the towns located by the Vistula Lagoon – such as Elblag or Frombork.
– This whole area will have an impact on launching eastern Poland – areas that had no chance of development, not to mention the development of the port of Elbląg, which was already recluded. It was said to be the most expensive parking lots in the world, because there were cars standing on the wharf. I hope that this will change, that this year the ships will start to sail through the canal and that we will start a new stage of Elblag development, but also of other towns on the Lagoon, which will have the possibility to develop both industrially and as tourists – said the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure.
He added that along with the construction of the canal it is necessary to deepen the waterway through the Vistula Lagoon and the Elbląg river, to modernize the port in Elbląg and to build new bridges.
Gróbarczyk was also asked about the situation of the shipbuilding industry in Poland. He recalled that the closure of the shipyards occurred in 2008 under the PO-PSL government, which “did not pursue any policy to defend this industry, did not refer the matter to the ECJ, but only implemented what came from the European Commission.” He said that the United Right government has been implementing a program to rebuild the industry since 2016 and an order for the construction of 4 ferries has gone to Polish shipyards.
– We have a contract signed, money transferred, construction begins – and we have an attempt by the opposition to discredit the government’s actions by reverting to sarcasm, which aims to discredit the whole process,” Gróbarczyk assessed.
He added that the whole ferry building program is worth 4 billion zlotys and the construction of four vessels “will secure the transport potential of our shipowners”.
– Shipyards in Rostock and Wismar, which received unlimited funds from the German budget, have just gone bankrupt,” Gróbarczyk said.