Poland Transport and Communications
The new Poland has 94,600 km. of ordinary roads, of which 17,000 are given by state roads, 54,600 by provincial or district roads and 23,000 by municipal roads. The railways, which at the end of the war were mostly destroyed or very seriously damaged, both in the fixed installations and in the rolling stock, were rebuilt or repaired very quickly: thus, over 24,522 km. of lines, 21,126 km were in operation at the end of 1946. The highest density of the network is found in Silesia and Posnania. While pre-war Poland had one km. of railway every 18 sq. km., the new Poland has one km. of railway every 12 sq. km. (network in full working order). The conditions, therefore, have greatly improved.
For the transport of heavy goods, such as coal, metal ores, timber, cement, etc., inland waterways are of prime importance. The Vistula is navigable by units of up to 1000 t. up to the confluence of the Bug, then almost to Warsaw; further upstream, up to the foot of the Carpazî, boats of 250 t can navigate. The Oder is even better navigable since it ships of 1000 t. they can cover almost its entire length and, using the canalized course of its tributary Klodnica, reach the heart of Upper Silesia. The main tributaries of the two rivers are also well navigable, which are also connected to each other and to the nearby basins of the Pregola, Niemen, Dnepr and Elba by canals, which are also navigable. For Poland travel information, please check zipcodesexplorer.com.
The old Poland until 1926 had, as its only outlet to the sea, the port of Gdansk, which was part of the Polish customs territory. In that year, work began on the construction of the great port of Gdynia, which soon became one of the largest in the Baltic, with serious damage to Gdansk.
The new Poland has a much wider breath on the sea, because in addition to Gdynia and Gdansk (now also politically in its hands) it has bought the great port of Szczecin, with its outer port of Świnoujście (Swinemünde), and various minor commercial ports: those of Kołobrzeg (Kolberg), Darłowo (Rügenwalde), Ustka (Stolpmünde) and Elbląg (Elbing).
At the end of the war, all of these ports were found with their equipment almost completely destroyed and their basins cluttered with the carcasses of sunken ships. With marvelous speed they were rebuilt and traffic resumed, very intense. Those of Gdynia and Danzig in 1947 had already reached the pre-war figures, and were on the way to greatly surpass them. Even the traffic of Szczecin (which was the largest German port in the Baltic) has resumed in full. In 1947 a ferry service began operating between Szczecin and Trälleborg (Sweden), thus starting a direct train service between Poland and Sweden. The smaller ports of Kołobrzeg, Darłowo and Ustka are mainly frequented by small tonnage ships (mainly motorized sailing ships).
Foreign trade. – In the three-year period 1936-38, 19.2% of the value of Polish imports came from Gemiania, 12.3% from Great Britain and 12% from the United States; followed immediately afterwards by Austria with 4.3%, Belgium (4.3), France (3.7), Holland (3.7) and Sweden (3.1). As for exports, they were mainly directed to Germany (19.5%), Great Britain (19.3), the United States (6.8), Belgium (6.2), Sweden (6.0), Holland (4.7), Czechoslovakia (4.2), Italy (4.2) and France (4.0).
Things have now changed profoundly, as evidenced by the data we have for 1946; in that year, 70% of the imports (regardless of the very copious goods sent by UNRRA) came from the Soviet Union and 14.5% from Sweden, followed at a great distance by Germany (5.3) and Denmark (2.5); exports were 49.4% directed to the Soviet Union and 18.4% to Sweden, followed by Germany (5.8), Denmark (5.6) and France (4.7). The strong influence of post-war political conditions on Polish foreign trade is evident.
The import mainly concerns some food products, iron ores, petroleum and derivatives, manganese and chromium ores and textile materials; exports ($ 132.8 million), especially coal and coke; then, at a great distance, concrete, timber, iron, steel, zinc, cotton and wool fabrics, soda. For coal and coke, the export was 14.4 million tonnes. compared to the 10.7 million that were exported, on average, in the three-year period 1936-38.
The rapid reconstruction work in all branches of activity meant that foreign trade also marked an early recovery. It should be noted, in fact, that in 1945 the import was worth only 34 million dollars, compared to 139.6 million in 1946 and that the respective export figures were 37.8 and 132.8 million.