We asked companies from a wide range of sectors to tell us what the future holds for their industries in Poland and how businesses will have to react to them. Below is a selection of the answers firms gave us.
The development of Poland’s steel market in the next few years will be driven by a number of infrastructure projects that will be implemented within the new financial perspective of the European Union. However, there are a number of challenges that the steel industry in Poland is facing at the moment and which make it impossible for it to compete against imports from countries in which market conditions are more favourable. We need to have a level playing field. For this to be achieved, the issue of energy cost needs to be addressed immediately: the excise tax on electricity should be abandoned and the gas market should be fully liberated.
Over the next 10 years, the paper sector will most probably see an increasing number of areas where the digital and analogue media converge to create new and positive synergies. The nearest future may bring even stronger necessity to create new products both within the packaging and the digital printing segments. Also there will be need for more specialised and non-wood papers. There will also be an increase in investments in new technology to protect the environment. Arctic Paper plans to further concentrate on finding new solutions to fill or even to create new demands for specialised products.
We develop technologies that are not only able to satisfy the current market demands, but can also create future trends. This is particularly important in times of global economy where we need to face the competition from both Polish and international IT vendors. The expectations of companies and institutions that buy our software solutions are increasingly higher as they become better educated in information technology and are able to determine precisely what they need.
In the next 10 years the automotive sector will continue to be one of the most important branches of the Polish economy – one that generates significant revenue and creates sustainable jobs for thousands of Poles. The automotive sector in Poland is not just factories producing cars, but also manufacturers of components constituting an increasing percentage of players in the industry, employing about 150,000 employees across the country. Development centres will increase in importance, replacing the currently dominant assembly plants. Domestic components manufacturers will gain new competencies, expand production facilities and allocate more resources to growth and innovation. We definitely want to fit into this trend and grow our R&D – we see the opportunity to build a sustainable competitive advantage and the basis for future growth.
Poland is one of the largest packaging markets in Europe. The packaging industry is equipped with modern means of production and the latest technology, and the offer of packaging manufacturers is fully competitive in foreign markets. In the light of the current economic situation in Poland, the packaging market continues to grow and has good prospects – it has a chance to achieve a level comparable to the developed markets of Western Europe over the next decade. We intend to play a significant role in metal and glass packaging, mainly by changing production technology resulting in: increased productivity, reduced costs, innovative printing solutions, product quality improvement and usability improvement.
Polish chemical companies are often listed among the largest in the European market, and their position in the world is continuously getting stronger. The Polish chemical sector has a large potential for further growth. The positive development of consolidation, privatisation and restructuring processes in the sector will have a good influence on the financial condition and liquidity of large companies. Thanks to increasing productivity, innovative solutions and competitiveness, Polish chemical companies should continue their dynamic expansion to foreign markets in the long-term perspective. In order to achieve this, it will be necessary to maintain Polish products’ high level of quality and invest boldly in new technologies and production capacity. However, we have to keep in mind larger obstacles, such as the climate policy of the European Union, which may hinder the competitiveness of Poland and Europe on the global market.
Before 2020, each hospital and clinic in Poland will have an implemented IT system enabling the secure electronic processing of patient data. Services such as e-registration, e-referrals and e-ordering will be common and patients will have access to their medical records remotely, via the internet. Experience from other markets shows that the absorption of ICT leads to considerable cost reduction, for example by shortening the duration of hospitalisation. There are many applications for ‘telemedicine’ – from care for the chronically ill to extreme sports. Our ambition is to pave the way for the idea of a fully computerised medical facility of the future, where the use of information systems can be much more efficient.
The transport and logistics market followed customers’ needs beyond the borders of one country a long time ago. When we talk about its development, we should look at the market not only from a national but at least from a European perspective. Here we can see five trends which will shape the market in the near future: globalisation, deregulation, demographic changes, climate protection and digitalisation. Moreover, the emerging new concepts in the management and organisation of production – such as lean management – will strongly influence the development of the transportation and logistics sector.
To see the full picture of the Central and Eastern European container market one must remember the unstable and unpredictable situation in Russia. Part of container flow through Polish ports is dependent on the situation in and around Russia, which recently is very difficult. Weak domestic economy, collapsing currency, European Union’s embargoes and Russian counter-embargoes influenced not only the direct cargo flows to Russia but also the economic situation of the Russians. This means changes in the structure of Russian cargo flow and it directly affects the condition of container terminals serving the Russian market.
I think that the IT services sector will continue to grow, but without the fireworks and spectacular successes. A few companies will strengthen their presence abroad, but not much, because the key problem is that the state is not able to support the export of technology and therefore we have not been able to achieve mass presence on the global market. Another problem will be demographics. The demand for qualified engineers and science graduates continues to increase while their number in Poland is falling. If more students go into humanities than into computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, physics or even chemistry, it will have a decisive impact on the price of services and the quality of our solutions on the Polish market.
Recent years have brought rapid development of the construction sector in Poland. Polish companies have invested substantial financial resources in production facilities and advanced technologies. As a result, today domestic Polish companies successfully compete in foreign markets. We offer excellent quality and competitive solutions. We expect that in the coming years the Polish building materials sector will be associated with a strong name brand.
Logistics, as well as the warehouse market, have good prospects in Poland. Thanks to progress in infrastructure development, access to a qualified workforce and strong internal demand, Poland is becoming more attractive for foreign companies year by year. E-commerce will remain one of the sectors that has the greatest influence on the growth of demand for warehouse space. Secondly, Poland will attract production companies seeking high-quality space designated for production and warehousing, and often for office space as well. At the same time, competition among developers is growing. The Polish warehouse market is maturing, so only the strongest players, with access to financing, will survive.
We believe that Poland has good conditions for further development in the wood and furniture industry, including skilled employees and know-how, good quality raw materials and long-term sustainable forest management, as well as a stable overall economy. We also believe that the growth will come not only from exports but also from the national market, where consumers will be more likely to exchange their furniture in a shorter periods of time. There are several trends that will probably have an impact on the Polish wood industry’s competitiveness: improved efficiency and quality through automation and the growing importance of safety and sustainability.
In the near future we can certainly expect the development of services for the food industry – more and more e-retailers offer customers bread, fruit, vegetables and delicatessen products. The e-commerce market is evolving very rapidly, consumer expectations are rising – they want to buy products online in virtually every sector. Delivery service providers will have to adapt to this trend. In addition, cross-border services are still thriving. Cross-border deliveries in the future will play an increasingly important role in the e-commerce market. Drones are another interesting direction some companies are going. However, there are still a lot of difficulties related to security and legal issues. We believe the most proven solution in the market will continue to be machines for sending and receiving packages independently. That is why we continually strive to develop our network of automated parcel lockers.
The next 10 years will see the emergence of Eastern Poland, which has appeared on investors’ radar only recently, due to a number of newly completed and ongoing infrastructure projects, most importantly the A4 highway. The latter has brought places like Rzeszów and Lublin so much closer to Western Europe. The eastern parts of Poland are a huge reservoir of labour, which is becoming increasingly hard to find in areas near Wrocław and Poznań. One can expect an influx of manufacturing investments to Eastern Poland precisely because of the availability of workers. The labour intensive projects will move there, while logistics businesses that prioritise short delivery times to Germany and beyond will remain near the Western border.
The chemical sector currently accounts for a smaller portion of industrial production in Poland than in other countries. While Europe’s share in global production is 24%, Poland’s is only 2%. Furthermore, with Poland’s foreign trade deficit at some €7bn annually, the sector offers considerable potential for growth. In terms of competition, the situation in the industry will also improve as new products and technologies are created thanks to the EU Horizon 2020 programme and other dedicated financial support schemes. We believe that the petrochemical industry has considerable potential for growth, and so we are consistently pursuing our petrochemical investment projects.
The Polish banking sector over the next 10 years will consistently support the development of the economy, which will systematically close the gap with Western Europe. In parallel, there will be a process of consolidation of the banking sector. As a result, some small banks with small market shares will disappear from the market, if they don’t find a lucrative niche. They will be taken over by larger institutions. We also see changes in customer behaviour and preferences. It will be important to build and develop modern communication and customer service tools.
The rapid development of infrastructure, specifically more and better local road connections, will be an incentive for us to add new routes and extend current ones. Our research shows that more and more people will decide to travel as prices become more affordable connections between individual cities improve.
We believe there are strong growth opportunities for the warehouse and industrial sector in Poland. According to estimations, the warehouse sector in Poland could grow by 50-60% by 2020, and reach close to 13m sqm. This shows that there is still a lot of room for development in this sector. The market recovery in 2014 has allowed developers to return to a conservative amount of speculative development and this is likely to continue and increase in the core markets where levels of vacant supply are falling to all time low. Certainly the popularity of build-to-suit facilities is unlikely to fall, particularly for the light assembly and production companies that due to the specifics of their activity, prefer a tailor made solution.
The real estate market will be driven mostly by the sector of modern business services, which is expected to grow by 15,000 to 20,000 new jobs annually. From the outsourcing centres alone we will see high demand for modern office space. The increasing demand will also be driven by the public sector and growing Polish companies. Polish GDP is expected to amount to 70% of the EU15 countries’ average by 2025. Presumably, this will also result in a growing demand for office space. It is significant that numerous companies are locating their offices outside Warsaw, because they are finding skilled workers in regional markets, while reducing costs.
The bus industry, although it is part of the automotive industry, is specific. In its scope, we see an increasingly strong trend gaining in the popularity of zero-emission solutions, such as electric buses. We anticipate that emission-free solutions will gain in importance, and in the near future electric buses on the streets of European cities will not be uncommon.
European climate policy will significantly influence the Polish energy and utilities market within the next 10 years. Even though coal will remain the dominant fuel in Poland for a long time yet, gas and renewable energy will have an increasingly larger share of the market. I also believe that district heating will be recognised as a very efficient tool to tackle both energy efficiency and lower emissions. Nevertheless, changes won’t be revolutionary. It is not possible to completely transform the energy sector of a country within 10 years. The direction of change will be toward a low emission economy, but the pace of change will largely depend on regional conditions.
If the Polish capital market is to thrive, everyone needs to be made aware that the capital market is an important part of the economy. There are many examples that confirm a strong relationship between the capital market and a fast-growing economy. Therefore, it should be permanently inscribed in Polish economic policy. All related entities should be engaged and specific actions should be taken in order to support the dynamic development of the capital market. Steps to promote the success of the Polish economy on the international stage, for example, would give a positive stimulus to the development of the market. It is also necessary to simplify procedures and to introduce changes in tax regulations to promote market transparency and stock market investment, such as incentives for investors and issuers. In addition, the Warsaw Stock Exchange sees the need for regulatory changes facilitating access to the Polish capital market, which would increase competitiveness.
Poland has a great future in air transport. Over 50% of Polish air transport capacity is now attributed to low-cost airlines and this trend will continue to develop in the next 10 years. Economic convergence is one of the drivers of long-term transport prospects and as a result air transport should grow disproportionately fast compared to Western Europe – here it’s growing at about two times the growth of GDP. There’s a lot of growth capacity on existing routes, as some routes are flown with a very tight capacity. There’s scope for adding more frequency to those routes. Many of the drivers will happen because we’re stepping up, with 6 million passengers expected this year compared to 4.7 million last year. So we will be driving this growth.