An international consortium led by the Maritime Institute in Gdansk (Poland) signed a contract with the Dnieper-Bug Waterway company (Belarus) to research the conditions for restoration of the waterway between the Baltic and the Black Sea in Minsk on 29 January. The consortium also includes Ukraine’s ChernomorNIIproekt research institute.

According to a press release by the Dnieper-Bug Waterway company, experts will analyze the economic, technical, environmental, and other aspects of the E-40 waterway between Gdansk and Kherson. The experts are expected to present their findings by the end of 2015.

Within 11 months, the consortium should conduct the feasibility study of the use of the E-40 waterway and offer three options to restore it. Hydrological and hydrographic surveys of the waterway and a study of the technical conditions for its operation are expected to be performed.

Passing through Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine, the E-40 waterway connects the ports of Gdansk and Kherson via the rivers Vistula, Western Bug River, Pripyat, and Dnieper. However, its section on the Bug River, between Warsaw and Brest, is currently unnavigable. In addition, this section of the E-40 also crosses environmental parks that are part of the Natura 2000 network of European nature protection areas. Therefore, planning and construction of hydraulic structures here requires the most careful analysis, the press release states.

In addition to the above-mentioned companies, the consortium also includes the European-Ukrainian Agency for Business and Innovation (Germany), the Institute of Economics, Transport, and Logistics (Germany), and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. More detailed assignments for all five organizations will be identified at a special meeting to be held in mid-February 2015.

According to calculations, the E-40 will be able to handle up to 4 million tons of cargo annually, which greatly simplify trade between Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus, since water transport requires less fuel and is more suitable for transportation of large-tonnage goods. In addition, active development of modern logistics infrastructure in the border regions of the three countries is expected.

The consortium, as the winner of the relevant international tender, will receive EUR 493,000 for financing the work. The money will be provided by the European Union under the project for project restoration of the E40 waterway. Ukraine is represented in the project by the Volyn regional water resources department and the public organization Volyn Association of Scientists and Innovators.