The exemption from income tax for seafarers, the construction of the so-called red road in Gdynia and the construction of external ports will accelerate the development of maritime economy – said Deputy Minister of Economy and Environment Grzegorz Witkowski on Tuesday about the three draft laws adopted by the government.
Income Tax from Natural Persons as the most important.
“We exempt seafarers who have worked half a year at sea from income tax. – said Witkowski, recalling that Tuesday is Seafarer’s Day. As he said, the draft of the novella is the second of three steps that are to encourage the re-registration of ships from the so-called flags of convenience to the Polish flag. The first – as he explained – was the Tonnage Tax Act. “It was a law dedicated to shipowners. Today we have taken the second step, which is to dedicate this income tax law to seafarers. The third step will be the Act on Social Insurance for Seafarers, which the President’s Chancellery is working on, so that it is competitive and so that they can join the Polish flag. – he said.
As stated by CIR, European shipowners are making mass use of the services offered by countries with flags of convenience. The commercial fleet of the majority of Polish shipowners also sails under foreign flags, which is mainly related to labour costs, i.e. income tax and insurance with Polish Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) (. Seafarers employed on board ships registered in the Bahamas Community vessel register, which is one of the most popular registers among Polish shipowners, are fully exempt from income tax.
According to data from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
the list of the ten largest ship registers in terms of tonnage registered worldwide opens Panama. Next they are: Liberia, Marshall Islands, Singapore, Malta, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, United Kingdom, China, Greece and Japan. Due to its unfavourable tax and social security system, Poland is ranked 109th in this ranking. Even landlocked countries such as Mongolia, Switzerland and Luxembourg have higher tonnage.
As a result, the countries with the largest number of vessels registered in their registers have a number of tax incentives for shipowners. The active tax policy of these countries has led to the de-registration of vessels from the national registers of EU countries.
As the Deputy Minister of Maritime Economy pointed out
another of the projects adopted by the government is the amendment to the Act on the Construction of External Ports.
“I would like to remind you that last year Polish ports transshipped a record amount of goods: over 100 million tonnes. Thanks to this, the State Treasury received over PLN 40 billion in customs and fiscal fees. These are gigantic amounts and we hope that this year there will be even more of them. Taking into account the dynamics of development and the global shipping market and world trade, we must start investing in the development of Polish ports. Today’s law on the construction of external ports will enable us to do so,” he said.
He explained that the new regulations will allow for fast and simple construction of new external ports, especially the container terminal east of the Świnoujście gas terminal and the external ports and the central port in Gdańsk and Gdynia. He added that it will contribute to the growth of the transshipment mass in the Baltic Sea, and Poland will be able to become a large transport hub in this part of the world.
Witkowski also described the third Tuesday’s bill on ports and marinas.
It gives the harbour authorities, i.e. the State Treasury, greater control and power over land, real estate and financial management in our ports in Gdańsk, Gdynia, Szczecin and Świnoujście,” he said. As he added, it will also enable the construction of the so-called red road in Gdynia from the port to the Tri-City ring road.
“It will be a dual carriageway road that will lead from the container terminal in Gdynia to Morska Street, to the end of the Tri-City Ring Road. (…) There can be no situation in which one of the largest Polish ports depends only on the Kwiatkowski Route in Gdynia. We have to build an alternative road to this port, it is a question of the Polish raison d’être. – …he’s judged. As he said, the cost of building this 6.5 km long road will amount to about PLN 1.5 billion in the next eight years; it will be available both for heavy rail transport from the port to take it outside the borders of the city of Gdynia and for local traffic. He added that the construction should begin within the next two years, as time is needed to prepare documentation and buy out plots of land.