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Abstract

Systemic transformation in Polish surface transport: An evaluation. The purpose of this paper is to provide some insight into the processes of restructuring and privatisation among rail, road, urban-transport, and inland shipping companies after 1989. Where freight is concerned, carriage on standard- and broad-gauge railways can be evaluated as partly deregulated, while where the carriage of passengers is concerned – all carriers up to mid-2005 had originated within the PKP Group. The most common form of transformation of passenger carriers is communalisation of existing companies. The first private operator (the present-day Arriva) appeared as late as 2007. The disintegration of national road carrier (PKS) resulted in the founding of c. 40 new freight firms, the majority of which were closed-down soon. The most common form of privatisation of the PKS passenger enterprises has involved leasing by workers. The privatisation has involved not only Polish investors but also foreign ones (Veolia, later on taken over by Arriva, and Israeli Egged Holding via its affiliate Mobilis). However, the share of public-capital ownership remains substantial, resulting often in final bankrupcy of road transport companies. Among the operators in urban transport public owership remains dominant in various forms (local authorities, municipal, budgetary companies). On the opposite, in inland shipping small private firms are dominant. Moreover, systemic transformation plus Poland’s EU accession have given rise to the conditions underpinning the emergence of Europe’s largest shipowners (OT Logistics).
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