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Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia 2019 with record attendance

The Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia was held on 11 October, Friday, at the Pomeranian Science and Technology Park in Gdynia. It’s the 19th edition of the most important business event of the maritime industry in Poland. For many years Gdynia has been attracting experts from the world of science and maritime economy business in order to discuss the possibilities and the challenges of this industry sector.

The Forum, in the words of the Mayor of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek “is one of largest events of this kind in the northern Poland. (...) the maritime industry representatives arrive in Gdynia to debate about the issues they define themselves. (...) The event is lively and addresses the actual needs of the maritime industry. I believe that the solutions which are being discussed here, will allow the companies of the maritime economy to compete more effectively in the market.”


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The Mayor of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek during an official opening of the 19th Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia 2019, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG


This year’s Forum was attended by a record number of participants, which amounted to more than 650 and almost 40 speakers both from Poland and from abroad. The main theme of this year’s Forum was “Development prospects of maritime economy in the EU countries in context of the world markets”. The discussion panels have been divided into four areas including the current trends and challenges posed by the global economy: Maritime Technologies, Sea Ports and Logistics, Law and Finance as well as Shipping.

The plenary session as every year, commenced with an address by The Mayor of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek and the Chairman of the Forum Mr Sławomir T. Kalicki, the president of the Inter Marine group of companies (IM Group).

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Poland, Mr Olav Myklebust, was be one of the special guests at the Forum. In his address he drew particular attention to the rich history of maritime links between Poland and Norway. He also emphasized its significant influence on the cooperation between the Polish and Norwegian maritime sectors. “I know that in this room in Gdynia, in the Tri-City that I love to visit, I’m among friends and that we understand one another well. I assure you, there are many joint challenges up ahead that we are going to tackle together.”

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From the left: Jerzy Czuczman, Paweł Radwański, Olav Myklebust, Sławomir T. Kalicki, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG


Paweł Radwański, the Chief Economist at BNP Paribas Bank Polska S.A, presented the possibilities and the threats posed by the current transformations on the global market Analysing the changes seen during the last few years and predictions based on economic cycles and market dynamics, he has dealt with the issue of conducting business strategies designed to provide stability of companies in times of economic uncertainty.


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Paweł Radwański: Chief Economist, Department of Economic and Sectoral Analysis, BNP Paribas Bank Polska S.A, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG

President of the Association “Polish Maritime Technology Forum”, Jerzy Czuczman, told the Forum participants about the struggle but then also and most importantly about the achievements of the shipyard industry in the year 2018. This was followed by a video presentation about the work and the capabilities of modern shipyards.

An important part of the discussion that was conducted during the plenary session was the theme devoted to ecological strategies which are currently available and which may be implemented in the maritime economy. Adam Meller - President of the Managing Board, Port of Gdynia Authority S.A, pointed out the changes taking place at the Port of Gdynia and the environmental regulations, which are to a large extent guidelines to be applied when following a chosen path of Port development. The highlighted priorities are limiting toxic gass and exhaust emissions into the atmosphere. “This is of exceptional significance in the case of Port of Gdynia, because of our very close proximity to the city centre. Our goal is to ensure that the incoming vessels limit their exhaust emissions to the minimum. This means i.a. the system of supplying vessels with shore-side electricity from the quays. At the Port of Gdynia we provided in the form of a commercial service, the option of fuel bunkering for vessels with liquefied natural gas (LNG),” Adam Meller said.

One of the topics of the plenary session, presented by PGE BALTICA, will be development of the offshore wind energy sector, including the offshore wind farm construction in the Baltic Sea, which may play a key role in the process of energy transformation in Poland. According to Radosław Pachecki, the project manager for Logistics at PGE BALTICA, the energy from the offshore wind farms, is going to play a key role in the future Polish economy. “There is at present work underway on the “National Energy Policy Project”, which has now reached the consultation stage - It is for the first time in the history of our country that attention is being drawn to the Polish wind energy sector,” said Radosław Pachecki of PGE Baltica. According to the research conducted by the PGE Baltica, the offshore wind farms currently present one of the cheapest available sources of wind energy. A significant aspect of the Forum was the conclusion of an agreement on cooperation between two organizations from the maritime economy sector - the Polish Offshore Wind Energy Society and the Polish Maritime Technology Forum.

Another milestone in the dynamic development of the maritime economy is the efficient and up-to-date vocational education. This topic was discussed by Associate Professor dr hab. eng. Damian Bocheński together with Karol Zduńczyk, the president of the DORACO Building Corporation. The Professor drew attention to the fact that graduates of technical courses from the Polish institutions of higher learning, upon completion of their study, quickly find attractive and well paid employment in their area of expertise. “In Poland there exist several systems of monitoring the employment pathways of graduates from institutions of higher learning. In the area of technical sciences, there are at the moment more than 1,359 study choices. Annually they generate approximately 50 thousand graduates. Who find suitable employment with ease. For instance, the risk of remaining unemployed following the completion of a building and construction course at the Gdańsk University of Technology (PG) is 3.5 percent,” prof. Damian Bocheński said. Irrespective of this data, Karol Zduńczyk, president of the DORACO Management Board, noted that there are still staff shortages in the labour market. “From the point of view of the business I represent, the development of vocational education is a must. Staff shortages are unfortunately an obstacle to further development not only in our industry. This goes back to the early ‘90s. This was when vocational schools acquired a stigma as institutions of second choice. For the needs of the maritime and hydrotechnical sectors, education in such type of schools appears to be a necessity.” Despite attractive salaries offered to blue collar workers in the maritime sector, there are still staff shortages. Karol Zduńczyk added that at present, the salaries of blue collar workers in this sector exceed the national average salary. There are fewer and fewer young employees, and the qualified staff is getting older.

The plenary session was concluded with a prize giving ceremony for the Best Student of the Gdynia Maritime University Award, funded by the Polish Shipping Companies' Association, and with this year’s winner being Angelika Zalewska.



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The competition jury awarding the prize to the winner of the Best Student of the Gdynia Maritime University Award, funded by the Polish Shipping Companies' Association, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG


There was also an announcement of the results of the competition “The Sea is my Passion”, where the central objective was shooting of a movie promoting the maritime economy. The competition organisers were the City of Gdynia, The Pomorze Film Foundation and the Gdynia Film School. This year the winner of the competition “Driven by the Sea” was Rafał Wojczal, the author of the script for “SKOK”. The cash prize to the amount of PLN 10,000 has enabled the author to shoot the movie. Additionally two distinctions were awarded, one for Tomasz Bizewski for the film “A morze? TAK?” [And how about the sea? - Its a pun, based on the ambiguity created by the difference between homophones może (maybe) and morze (sea) transl. note] People, places, emotions”. The award ceremony was followed by the presentation of the winning film.

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The winner of the competition “The Sea is my Passion”, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG



After the break four discussion panels took place which were run simultaneously.

Mateusz Filipp - Business Line Director - Civil Ships at PGZ Naval Shipyard Gdynia SA, was the leader of the panel Maritime Technologies. This meeting discussed the most relevant topics related to the shipbuilding industry in Poland. The panel participants included seven experts, who discussed new trends and technologies in the maritime industry, shipyard strategies as well as global challenges in relation to national limitations. Another matter that was considered was the participation of Polish suppliers within the international supply chain.


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Experts of the discussion panel Maritime Technologies, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG


The most popular in terms of attendance turned out the panel on Sea Ports and Logistics, led by Marek Tarczyński - the President of the Polish Council of the International Freight Forwarders Association (PISIL), president of the Management Board at Terrama SA. The experts discussed the directions for development of intermodal transport in the era of Industry 4.0, the challenges and changes that the new technology poses for the maritime transport sector and logistics. The impact of the global maritime economy which is a crucial element in the adaptation of the existing port infrastructure to the ongoing changes. Talks have also been held on the development of Polish trade by sea route.

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Ports and Logistics panel participants, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG


This year’s edition of the Forum included a completely new topic, which surfaced during the panel discussion on Finance and Law, led by Krzysztof Kochanowski PhD, Legal Adviser, Mar-Consult Legal Firm The main topic was the financing of navigation and shipyard industry. The debate on the most efficient methods of obtaining both Polish and foreign capital was accompanied by discussions about legal regulatory measures and the experiences and expectations of all the maritime market participants including the ship owners, shipyards and banks.

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Ezio del Maso, speaking during the discussion panel on Finance and Law, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG


The Shipping discussion panel was led by Capt. Kuba Szymański, General Secretary, Inter Manager, Isle of Man. The discussion centred on the potential of the younger generation, and primarily of all the Poles involved in international business. Global market needs in the context of Ship Management were considered as well as the readiness of Polish entrepreneurs to introduce changes in management style.

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Tommy Hjälmås - Managing Director, Altamarine LDA, Panel discussion Shipping, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG



This year’s Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia 2019 was accompanied by a Seminar Tourism from the Sea, which dealt with current trends and development challenges of tourism in seaside areas. The seminar was opened was Marta Chełkowska, Director of Tourism Department, Marshal Office Pomorskie Voivodeship. During two thematic blocks experts discussed the needs and the changes which take place in sea tourism, both cruising and sailing, in the Baltic Sea region. The second thematic block was attended by representatives of local seaside museums, who demonstrated innovative ways of making a museum trip to be an attractive tourist option.

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Maciej Zborowski during a presentation of Needs and expectations of Scandinavian tourists, on the panel Tourism from the Sea, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG


A big applause from the participants received a photography exhibition in the category “Work and the Sea” in the latest edition of the flagship photography competition entitled “The Maritime Legend of Gdynia in the eye of the camera”, which showcased 20 of the best works selected by the Competition Jury of the Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia. The Competition Jury also awarded its own prize to Mrs Magdalena Korzewska. The exhibition may be viewed on the first floor of the Conference Centre PPNT until the 21.10.2019 during the PPNT working hours.

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Photography exhibition “The Maritime Legend of Gdynia in the eye of the camera”, in the category Work and the Sea, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG


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Photograph by Mrs Magdalena Korzewska, winner of the prize awarded by the Competition Jury of the Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia.


Another event that accompanied the Forum and which attracted the attention of the visitors was an Exhibition of watercolour originals by Stefan Szmaj. The series of works on display documents the history of the Port of Gdynia and of the vessels arriving there.

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Exhibition of watercolours by Stefan Szmaj, phot. P. Kozłowski/ARG