The Polish government has approved a project for construction of a canal through the Vistula (Baltic) Spit. The new shipping artery will allow vessels to enter the port of Elblag (Poland), bypassing the territorial waters of Russia (Kaliningrad region). The project will cost PLN 880 million EUR 200 million.

Construction of the canal, which will have a length of 1.5 kilometers and a depth of 5 meters, will begin in 2018. Vessels with a draft of up to 4 meters, a width of 20 meters, and a length of 100 meters will be able to pass through the canal. The expected completion date is 2021.

The new canal will help to attract cargoes to the port of Elblag. The cargo turnover at the port is expected to increase to 1.5 million tons in the near future and to 3-4 million tons in the long-term future.

The port currently has a low output compared with other Polish ports. The port of Elblag received 240,000 tons of cargo and 7,000 passengers in 2015. The forecasts for this year are also disappointing: a cargo turnover of 150,000 tons and 11,000 passengers. For comparison, the Gdansk port exceeded 35.9 million tons of cargo and the Gdynia port 18.2 million tons in 2015.

The Elblag Port Authority intends to develop the port as a feeder port by organizing transportation of some cargoes to the major ports in Poland (Gdansk and Gdynia). "We want to be a so-called feeder port. Throughout the world, major seaports collaborate with a network of smaller ports located nearby, which they use for unloading container ships. Our clients are Polish, Russian, and German businesses. Ukrainians and Belarusians are also showing great interest in our port. They want to transport their goods via Elblag to Scandinavia," the Elblag Port Authority’s head Arkadiusz Zglinski said.

As the CFTS portal earlier reported, the money for construction of the canal through the Vistula Spit could be generated from the mining of amber, deposits of which are located on the spit. Poland’s Deputy Minister of Culture Jaroslaw Sellin expressed this opinion. 

Ukrainian Railways’ current head Wojciech Balczun was born in the city of Elblag.