Poland - Commercial Guide
Infrastructure & Intelligent Transportation Systems

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2019-10-13
Poland continues to devote sizeable resources to the development of its transportation. The National Directorate for Roads and Highways (GDDKiA), the Polish Railway PKP S.A., the Polish Railway Networks (PKP-PLK), Ministry of Investment and Economic Development, Ministry of Infrastructure, and Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways are all responsible for nation-wide or regional projects. In addition, local governments are responsible for infrastructure projects for their own communities. 
Many highway, railway, and inland-waterway projects are eligible for EU funding. While Polish resources are required as base funding, these EU funds are catalysts for making each project a reality.  It is important to note that the current EU budget, due to last until 2020, is likely the last one to feature such abundant resources for the development of transportation infrastructure. Therefore, Poland is introducing important changes to the regulatory framework governing the distribution of these funds, with the aim of enhancing infrastructure investments. 
One of the auspicious side effects of developing Poland’s transportation systems in the past few years has been the rapid development of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). ITS solutions have become an important part of highway and road infrastructure. Under the current EU funding scheme, for 2014 to 2023, the government plans to invest $17,5 billion in railway infrastructure and $36,6 billion in road infrastructure.  
Successful country-wide ITS implementation includes Viatoll, a system of collecting payments from trucks using paid roads, and CANARD, connecting all photoradars.  The Viatoll system first launched in 2011 and will expire in 2019.  The government appointed the General Inspectorate of Road Transportation (GITD) as the new operator of Viatoll. GITD is currently processing system upgrades and implementing new technologies. Now the Ministry of Infrastructure is planning to implement an innovative satellite-based system, which should be created within the  two following years. 
The ITS sector is becoming better organized. In 2013, key industry players founded the ITS Cluster (“Klaster ITS”) to support and inspire greater and more efficient cooperation between the private sector, government authorities, and academics. The ITS Polska Association controls the cluster and has divided it into eight working groups: mobility management, dual-use technologies, traffic management, metrology, billing and control systems, rail ITS, shared services centers, and smart cities. Each working group is led by one of almost 30 Cluster members. ITS Polska also organizes the annual ITS Poland Congress, a gathering of industry representatives; academic experts; and central, local, and municipal governments.  

Leading Sub-Sectors 

Road Transportation 
Poland has a large and growing road network of about 1017 miles of highways and 1300 miles of express roads. The country was listed as 13th in Europe regarding the length of highways.  Under the current program, GDDKiA plans to spend $37.5 billion on highways and roads by 2025. This would allow investments in new road infrastructure or upgrades. Since the beginning of the program (2014), 450 miles of new roads have already been constructed. In 2019, GDDKiA will spend $5 billion for investments of new roads - 270 miles. More than 868 miles of roads are now under construction, while 85 miles of roads are in the tender process. The government earmarked over $7 billion for construction on the Polish part of the Via Carpatia, an international route connecting Lithuania with Greece, including supporting infrastructure and plans for new ring roads in several cities. Via Carpatia should be finished in 2025. 

One of the most important investments under current programs is the  National Traffic System, which received a $139 million subvention from the European Commission. The system will support drivers by informing them in real-time about traffic, accidents and  road conditions. 
In May 2018, the government announced the Bridges for Regions program, where 21 bridges will be built over the largest Polish rivers. The project is estimated to cost $640 million and construction is expected to begin in 2020.  

Railway transportation 
PKP S.A. is the dominant company on the railway market in Poland. Today, Polish railway infrastructure has 12,000 mi of railway tracks. 
Most of the works are funded by EU Program Infrastructure and Environment for the 2014-2020 perspective. Today, Poland is realizing investments of $5,5 billion from these funds. Since the beginning of the program, the country has already spent $24 billion. Within the program, 900 km of railway roads will be created or improved, and 500 trains will be upgraded.   
Under the National Railway Program (KPK), the most important investment railway program in Poland, PKP PLK has planned for over 220 infrastructure projects, worth $18.6 billion, which will improve over 5,592 mi of railroad tracks.  Until now, projects worth USD 2,6 billion have been completed, tenders worth USD 8,4 billion are in process. The priority is the cargo routes, especially those linking the south of the country with the seaport in the north and those in large cities. The railway projects that would benefit include modernization of the cargo route in Southern Poland Chorzow-Zdunska Wola (over $1 billion), as well as improvement of railway infrastructure linking seaports in Gdansk, Swinoujscie and Gdynia ($1,55 billion). The aim of the program is also to increase average train speed on 8.5000 km of railroads. Currently, Polish train speeds are much lower than the EU average. 

In October 2018, the Ministry of Infrastructure announced the Kolej+ program which aims to improve local and regional railway infrastructure.  
The government is considering creating a national logistics operator to maximize the use of existing railway resources, and to improve the safety of passenger and freight railway operators. It is possible that this project will operate as a public-private partnership.  
Intermodal transportation is the future of Polish railroads. The main obstacles in developing intermodal transportation are the slow speed of cargo trains, which are two times slower than the EU average, and the inadequate number of intermodal terminals. In June 2018, the EU increased the funds for intermodal transportation in Poland to $550 million to address these concerns.  
PKP SA plans to invest in new multimodal logistic centers. A center in Bydgoszcz, called X-Logistics, is already under discussion. In agreement with seaports, PKP plans to build as many as 19 intermodal terminals throughout the country.  These projects would be carried out until 2030. 

Airport Infrastructure 
Nearly 46 million passengers travelled through Polish airports in 2018, reaching a record compared to 2017 , an increase of 15%. Each regional airport, except for Radom (closed in January 2019), saw an increase.  

Warsaw Chopin airport is an economic leader with growth of 12.7% compared to 2017, mainly with LOT  Polish Airlines (11.56 M passengers, 20% growth). Regional airports are also fast growing with a large increase in passengers and with development plans. 
Polish Regional Ports identified 210 investment needs (of $1 billion) to be realized in regional airports. They should be realized between 2018 and 2037.  

The biggest project that will be realized within next years is the Central Communication Port – a brand new international airport, located in Central Poland, about 25 miles from Warsaw. According to government plans, the national transportation hub should launch in 2027 and its cost will be $9 billion – the biggest cost of a single infrastructure project since 1989. 

The Central Communication Port project is the government’s response to a substantial increase in air transport passengers in Poland (last year’s increase: 10%). Warsaw’s Chopin Airport is the country’s largest.  Last year, 15. 7 million passengers travelled through Chopin Airport,  and it has no room to expand.  The new hub is  designed to handle 45 million passengers and will have the opportunity  to  eventually support 100 million passengers.   

The aim of the project is to broaden the collaboration between airports and railways, where the cost of investment would be even higher than the cost of the hub itself. The railway network will cost around $10 billion and, according to the government, will be financed/co-financed by the European Union. The government plans to create 808 miles of new railway infrastructures. According to the Ministry, the time to reach the airport from Warsaw city center will take around 15 minutes and from other major cities in Poland – 2-2,5 hours via  high-speed train. The government also plans to create a system that will allow passengers to check in while entering the train. 

The new international hub would become important not only for passengers but also for logistics. Poczta Polska ( Polish Post)  announced that the company would build a Central Logistics Hub close to the airport.  

Eventually, the government would like to create a high technology smart city around the airport.  Such a city would  employ directly more than 50,000 people.  

The Central Communication Port presents a tremendous opportunity for U.S. companies that might support the Polish government from the very beginning in engineering and project formation. Moreover, technological support will be highly needed. 

Other upcoming projects 
  • Central Seaport in Gdansk: The concept for this project will be ready by the end of 2019 and will be followed by environmental assessment and public discussions. Estimated completion date: 2027. Estimated cost of the project:  $1,57-$2,10 billion  
  • Port Gdynia Project: creation of an additional port that will toad up to  180ha, to the already existing 240 ha.   Cost of the project: $0,66 billion, Estimated completion date: 2026.   
  • The government is also pursuing the Piercing Spit of Vistula, a flagship project. If completed, this will create a 1,300 m long and 5 m deep canal that would create an inland port in the city of Elblag. The project will cost $236 million and it will be finished in 2022.   
     Good opportunities for U.S. exporters  include: 
  • Engineering, project creation in Central Communication Port 
  • Technological companies which can help with the smart city that will be constructed near the Central Communication Port.  
Web Resources 
ITS Polska   
Ministry of Infrastructure 
Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways 
General Directorate of Roads and Highways  
Road Traffic Automatic Supervision Centre (CANARD, part of General Directorate of Roads and Highways) 
PKP S.A.   
PKP Polish Railway Networks   

For more information about the Infrastructure and Intelligent Transportation Systems, please contact: 
U.S. Commercial Service Poland 
Commercial Specialist: Joanna Bereza 
E-mail: Joanna.Bereza@trade.gov