Organization of Vessel Traffic on Dredged Świnoujście-Szczecin Fairway: VTS Operators’ Viewpoint on the Use of Infrastructure for Ships Passing
Purpose: Modernization of the Świnoujście-Szczecin fairway involved the infrastructure investments. As a part of developed infrastructure, the new passing places were designed, allowing the implementation of two-way vessel traffic within this waterway. The commissioning of modernized fairway created challenges for Vessel Traffic Services operators (VTSOs), who plan and organize the traffic in this area. The purpose of the study was to analyze the opinions of VTSOs on the impact of changes in the fairway infrastructure on decision-making process related to planning vessel traffic on the dredged fairway, considering the use of passing places. Design/Methodology/Approach: A marketing research method was used to conduct the research. A questionnaire was developed, and the survey was carried out among VTSOs employed in Vessel Traffic Services centers in Szczecin and Świnoujście. Findings: In a result of conducted research, it was found that VTSOs are cautious about the use of newly commissioned Świnoujście-Szczecin fairway infrastructure elements for planning the two-way traffic of maximum-sized ships. The major concerns stemmed from the lack of needed data and the absence of mutual agreements between the process participants. Practical Implications: The results of the research may be of interest to seaports and institutions planning and organizing vessel traffic on the waterways. Originality/Value: The article shows the VTSOs’ opinion on the possibility to schedule the passing places for two-way vessel traffic on newly commissioned dredged Świnoujście-Szczecin fairway. The operators’ viewpoint on the safety level of vessel traffic within fairway specific sections was investigated. Recommendations for improving VTSOs decision-making process related to passing places planning within dredged fairway were formulated.