Summary: The study analyses the characteristics of maritime transport in the 10 countries that will join the EU in 2004. The Baltic ports are regrouping in order to become a corridor for East-West transit. The result of their location is a service dominated by feeder lines, i.e. low volumes and fragmented stopovers distributed over short distances. The service is in general weekly or twice weekly, to and from the ports in the North of the EU or the transhipment ports of Scandinavia. Thus, regional connections and very specialised companies are emerging, such as for example the Northern Container Line (Latvia), almost exclusively dedicated to the transport of Ikea's 65 weekly containers. The Polish and Baltic ports are particularly dependent on their hinterland. For example, one third of Polish exports pass through the Gdynia-Gdansk complex. If Gdansk is Poland's oil port, Gdynia is the pole for "containers and miscellaneous goods" and Szczecin the dry bulk cargo centre. A legacy of the socialist period, the Baltic ports drain on average 44% of the traffic from and to the Commonwealth of Independent States, evaluated at more than 95 million tons. This share rises to even more than 70% for containers, chemicals and oil. For example, 90% of the activity of Tallin, the closest port to Moscow, is concerned with servicing Russia and Belarus; and Ventspils (Latvia) handles 12% of all the petroleum products exported by Russia. These ports are in a fragile position. Russia is putting up intense competition in order to recover part of the traffic. The competition between ports is accentuated even more on the one hand by the "Via Baltica" road project, a Trans-European corridor which will connect Warsaw to Helsinki, and on the other by the Finnish Helsinki-St Petersburg-Moscow link project. Sectoral diversification and the expansion of container traffic seems a possible source of development. In Poland the principal issues at stake are very different. Firstly, they concern the modernisation of infrastructures and land links, a ma
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