Poland’s government to ensure the nation is fully in control of the process of loading and unloading grain in a dedicated port, said Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, who currently serves as advisor to Polish President Andrzej Duda, in an interview with daily Nasz Dziennik.
He said he believes that Baltic port of Gdynia would be the best location for that purpose.
According to Ardanowski, ownership matters, as the owners of the ports can dictate prices. He stated that state ownership of the key grain shipping site is essential for food security, which is why he said he is weary of foreign capital being involved.
“It is foreign entities which dictate prices and make decisions on participating in exports. Farmers are too often exposed to the diktat of foreign firms, which are the only ones capable of loading cargo onto ships,“ he said.
The former agriculture minister believes Poland must have the appropriate infrastructure in order to be able to realize its aims of helping other countries realize their need for food security, an important aspect of the state’s foreign policy.
Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has “revealed the key role Poland has in saving Ukrainian exports to countries in need of food,” claims Ardanowski.
Since Ukrainian grain must reach Poland by rail, this poses new demands on Poland in terms of a dry dock with broad gauges for the grain coming into. The former Polish agriculture minister argued that for too long the issue had been ignored, with private interests prevailing over national ones.
Ardanowski recommends Gdynia as the right location for the port, which would concentrate on loading food exports. He believes that such a port should be publicly owned.
Ardanowski says that Poland and Ukraine used to be competitors on food markets, but can now become partners.
Poland could help Ukraine not only with shifting its agricultural produce, but also with developing food processing, which is why state infrastructure investments in this area are worthwhile. These investments should not depend on how long the current war in Ukraine lasts, either, according to Ardanowski.
“I believe we need to tie ourselves with Ukraine for decades. This is in the interests of both.”