Transport and logistics are the main reasons for West Pomerania, Poland,
and Liège, Belgium, to cooperate and exchange experience. On 8th May,
the Marshal of the Region Olgierd Geblewicz and the Governor of Liège Hervè Jamar discussed the establishing of partnership relations. At the same time, Westpomeranian entrepreneurs participated in the study visit to a river port and an airport situated in the Belgian province.
Liège on the River of Meuse is the main economic and cultural centre of the French speaking Walloon. The region enjoys rich tradition of steel and military industries. Sectors of mechanical engineering, aerospace, information technology, biotechnology, and food production (e.g. water, beer, chocolate)
are the main economic drivers in the region. One of key success factors is
the capacity of the local river port, the third largest in Europe. Additionally,
the airport, situated in the vicinity, is the largest cargo airport in Belgium
and the eighth largest in Europe.
– We want our entrepreneurs and our business community to learn
from the experience that Liège has gained. For many years now, our regional government has supported the Goleniów airport for which the establishing of cargo operations may translate into expedited growth. It may also be a magnet attracting further investors to West Pomerania. Although Belgium experience is invaluable,
our cooperation is not going to concentrate on economic issues only,
said the Marshal of the Westepomeranian Region Olgierd Geblewicz.
The same delegation to the Belgian province included also members of the Regional Parliament of West Pomerania, representatives of the Szczecin-Goleniów Airport, maritime sector representatives from Szczecin and Świnoujście and representatives of the sector e-commerce sector. The study tour included a visit to the Liège Airport. The airport, situated 9 km away from the city, was a military airfield until 1991.
The first investor approached the airport several years after it had converted
to provide civil operations and focused on cargo transport. The investor saw
the potential of the courier mail. Today, it is the 8th largest cargo airport in Europe, and 45% of its turnover is generated by express mail and e-commerce. The airport operates 24/7. At night, about 50 planes land with cargo which is transhipped
and sent to other destinations within just several hours. Air transport is also used
by companies based in industrial zones situated in the vicinity. The Governmental Agency managing the airport has planned to extend it from the current 350 ha
to 470 ha. Plans include warehouses that are going to be leased to investors. Last year alone, the cargo turnover reached 800 thou. tons. Additionally, the airport handled 200 thou. passengers.
The exchange of good practices initiated in Liège might be inspiring
for representatives of the Szczecin-Goleniów Airport, who expressed their interest
in developing cargo operations in Goleniów. Still in February this year, the Board
of Waimea Holding S.A. signed a letter of intent with the airport for the purchasing
of 4.5 ha for the Waimea Cargo Terminal Szczecin-Goleniów. The implementation
of the project is expected to start still this year, and the cargo terminal will be made to top global standard for handling air cargo in West Pomerania. The modern multimodal terminal of about 5,000 m2 will be a part of the airport infrastructure. The facility should be operational at the end of Q2 2019. It is going to be the second cargo terminal developed by the investor in the region. The project cost is estimated in excess of PLN 30 million. The investment is one of pretexts for the visit of a Belgian delegation to the Goleniów airport together with representatives of their local businesses. It will be an opportunity to initiate business contacts.
Text & photo: Marek Mucha