Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

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A New Shipping Canal Through the Vistula Spit as a Political and Transportation Project

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Abstract:  In September 2022, a new shipping canal was opened connecting the Polish part of the Vistula Lagoon to the Baltic Sea. Largely political, the project links the lagoon and the port in Elbląg to the southern part of the Baltic, independent of the Russian Federation. In addition, its economic dimension enables the handling of small ships, as well as supporting tourism and yachting without the need to pass through the Russian-controlled Piława Strait. The scale of the new canal is relatively small—one and a half kilometre long and 25 metres wide. Nonetheless, it is sufficient for the navigation of small marine vessels of up to five-metre draft. The shipping canal through the Vistula Split is certainly not as important as the Corinth or North Sea Canals, still, it frees maritime and tourist traffic from Russian jurisdiction. The planned key port in the Vistula Lagoon is the port in Elbląg, a historic city that was once a member of the Hanseatic League, which brought together all the major cities of the Baltic Sea basin in the 14th and 15th centuries. The purpose of this article is to present the project’s historical context, its urban, technical, and shipping solutions, as well as the correlations between the new transport development and its anticipated impact on the environment (including the natural environment). The findings are complemented by a PESTEL analysis which shows the leading trends that are relevant to the implementation of the project in the region. The analysis identified areas that have a significant effect on the social, political, and economic settings of the new canal.

Keywords:  Elbląg; PESTEL analysis; port city; shipping canal; transport; Vistula Lagoon; Vistula Spit



© Piotr Marciniak. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.