Transport | In Principle

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Road transport

Road transport is one of the most highly regulated fields of human endeavour. Under Polish law the field is governed specifically by the Road Transport Act of 6 September 2001 and the Transport Law of 15 November 1984, and at the international level by the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

Transportation services are performed by road carriers. Performing road transport requires a licence to provide road transport as well as professional certifications demonstrating the knowledge and practice necessary to operate in the area of road transport.

Oversight of proper performance of transport services is exercised by the Road Transport Inspectorate, established to monitor compliance with regulations governing professional road transport as well as ordinary domestic and international automobile travel.

Road transport is a highly developed sector of the economy, subject to detailed legal regulations in the area of safety and standards for services, staff requirements, and record-keeping. 

Rail transport

Trains are operated by rail carriers, while maintenance of rail lines and organisation of rail traffic is handled by administrators of rail infrastructure. Carriage of passengers and goods is performed by rail carriers using the infrastructure provided by the administrator. A licence is one of the necessary conditions to provide rail carriage services. Licences are issued by the Rail Transport Office following the procedures set forth in the Rail Transport Act of 28 March 2003. Carriers, infrastructure administrators, and operators of rail sidings are required to meet safety standards and thus must pass a safety certification process. Generally, a rail carrier may obtain access to infrastructure on the basis of a safety certificate, while a rail infrastructure administrator operates on the basis of a safety authorisation. In addition, rail carriers, infrastructure administrators and rail siding users are required to obtain a utilisation certificate before using a given type of structure or equipment for conducting rail traffic, or a given type of rolling stock, for the first time. These operators must also hold certificates of technical fitness for rolling stock, which is a condition for utilisation, as well as meet a number of other requirements related to rolling stock.

Rail traffic is conducted in accordance with a schedule based on applications for assignment of routes filed by the carriers.

The procedures related to operating rail traffic and providing access to rail infrastructure under Polish law are generally governed by the Rail Transport Act, and proceedings are conducted before the Rail Transport Office. Under EU law, rail transport is governed by several sets of regulations, known as the First, Second and Third Railway Packages.

Air transport

Air transport is conducted using high-tech aircraft, navigational and ground equipment, and requires major financial resources and highly trained staff.

Legal conditions for civil aviation are governed primarily by the Aviation Law. A company intending to conduct air transport must obtain a licence from the Civil Aviation Office. Under Art. 4 of Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008, the main place of business of an undertaking seeking a licence to offer air services must be located in the EU member state whose authority issues the licence. Operating air services, alone or in combination with other commercial operation of aircraft or repair and maintenance of aircraft, must constitute the licensee’s principal business.

In addition to a licence, a Polish air carrier must hold a certificate and should apply for authorisation from the Civil Aviation Office to operate scheduled air service or a number of irregular flights on defined routes or in defined areas. Such authorisation is also required for a foreign carrier from another EU member state.

Under the Aviation Law of 3 July 2001, a foreign air carrier may provide scheduled international flights carrying passengers, baggage, goods or post to or from Poland upon receipt of a permit from the Civil Aviation Office. Where required by treaty, a foreign air carrier should be designated to provide air service on defined routes or in defined areas and be properly certified by the competent authority of the state in which it is licensed. Issuance of a use permit by the Civil Aviation Office is subject to an aviation fee.