Next phase for construction project of Małaszewicze Logistics Park
On 24 June 2022, a draft amendment to the act on commercialisation and restructuration of the state-owned enterprise “Polskie Koleje Państwowe” (Polish State Railways) and the Act on the Railway Fund was published on the website of the Government Legislation Centre (RCL). This is another step towards the implementation of the railway mega-investment in Małaszewicze, whose estimated cost is 3.2 billion zloty.
The aim of the project is to create a legal framework that will allow the modernisation of the railway infrastructure in the Małaszewicze Reloading Region on the EU border with Belarus. Additionally, the project envisages increasing the capacity of the railway crossing on the Polish-Belarusian border. A chance for such a change is the construction of the Logistics Park, which is to be the gateway to the New Silk Road. “It is an extremely happy day for Małaszewicze, the Biała Podlaska powiat, the Lublin Voivodeship and the entire eastern Poland,” adds Andrzej Sokolewicz, CEO of Cargotor.
According to him, the change in the ownership structure is secondary to the fact that the Polish state takes full responsibility for what will be implemented in Małaszewicze. “This is a project to fund the largest railway investment in Poland. Małaszewicze is an incredibly valuable Polish asset and if someone has to take care of it, it is the Polish government, provincial and local authorities,” emphasises CEO Andrzej Sokolewicz.
The procedures related to the selection of the contract engineer are currently underway, and the process of selecting the general contractor is to begin in early July. “We assume that the construction works on the land must start in the first half of next year. Funding is needed for this to be implemented. This decision is for us a tough declaration of the government in terms of interest in this part of Poland, the Lublin province and this unique place, which is Małaszewicze,” adds the president of Cargotor.
The construction of the Małaszewicze Logistics Park is to take around 5-6 years, and the aim of the investment is to achieve even a threefold increase in the capacity of freight depots from China. The draft amendment to the act on commercialisation and restructuring of the state-owned enterprise “Polskie Koleje Państwowe” and the act on the Railway Fund published on Friday, 25 June, show that the transaction is “of the strategic importance of this draft for the national budget”.
The European Commission refused to finance the construction of the Logistics Park in Małaszewicze and it will not be funded due to budgetary reasons. It should be highlighted that the preparation of the application was rated very high, for example, due to the cross-border nature of the project, and the consistency of the work packages with the investment objectives was emphasized.
The support at the political level in the implementation of the planned project was also appreciated, through the definition of the legal framework in the act proposed by the Ministry of Infrastructure, ensuring the possibility of adequate securing of financing. The project received 19.5 points with the threshold qualifying for funding at the level of 15 points. Nevertheless, according to the explanation provided, it will not be financed because of budgetary reasons.
Due to the situation on the EU eastern borders, the minimum number of points was awarded in terms of the “Priority and urgency” criterion, despite the fact that the project was recognised as a project of common European interest (IPCEI) and its added value throughout the European Union was appreciated by increasing bandwidth, efficiency and security.
“I now feel like a child from a poor white family from a poor southern US state, who passed the exam to study at the state university and obtained the required number of points but due to the affirmation campaign that was just underway, was not accepted for studies, because his place had to be taken by someone else with different skin colour. It is a nasty feeling. Full of feelings of injustice and segregation,” says Andrzej Sokolewicz, CEO of Cargotor, when asked for a comment on this matter.
We can ask ourselves: Are protectionism and the protection of the interests of German and Dutch seaports behind this surprising decision of the European Commission? The Polish state is passing the five-point exam at this difficult moment by publishing the draft act guaranteeing Cargotor the effective implementation of this investment. For the Polish state, this is one of the most important projects to be implemented in order to increase revenues to the state budget.