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Liberalization of Transportation Services in the EU: the Polish Perspective

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Edited By Andrzej Cieślik and Jan Jakub Michałek

Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004 created new challenges and opportunities for its transport service firms operating within the framework of the EU Single Market. This book evaluates the market structure in the Polish road, maritime, rail and air transport sectors and compares them to other EU countries, using both sectorial and firm-level data. Despite infrastructural underinvestment in most transport sectors, Poland enjoys a strong competitive position in supplying international road and rail cargo services, but the modernization of transport infrastructure remains a major challenge.
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Summary and Conclusions

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The last decades have seen an acceleration of worldwide and European economic integration thanks to the technological advances in the transportation and communication sectors, which have allowed for a faster and, in some cases, less expensive delivery service of goods. These advances in transportation services led to the emergence of global supply chains. Therefore, the role of transport services has become crucial in modern globalized economies, in which intra-industry trade and intra-firm deliveries dominate international trade flows. However, the communist CEE countries, dominated by the Soviet Union, were closed economies and were excluded from globalization for many years.

The first challenge for the CEE countries came in the early 1990s with the transition from a centrally-planned to an open market economy. Before the transition, Poland, like many other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, mainly relied on public transportation. Large state-owned enterprises were responsible for the vast majority of passenger and freight traffic. The economy changed radically after the transition. The privatization process led to a situation where large state-owned enterprises were split and transformed into public or private enterprises. In addition, many new private road transportation companies emerged.

The opening up of the economy and the introduction of currency convertibility boosted the market for imported passenger cars. As a result, the demand for public passenger and rail transportation decreased dramatically in the first 10–15 years after the transition. In the freight transport market, rail’s share dropped from over 64% to just below...

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