The most important are as follows: production of food products and beverages (more than 30% of the production sold in the industry), of furniture made of wood, cork and wicker (more than 14%), of machines and of electrical equipment (about 4%), production of clothing and fur items (about 1,6%). More than 42% of the national production of rubber products comes from Olsztyn, where the Michelin tyre factory is located.
The most important export activities are as follows: production of rubber products (almost 40% of the export share), furniture industry (about 20%), production of food products and production of metals and furniture products (each below 10%), production of wood and paper products, production of other machines and facilities (each about 5%).
The lowest indicators of innovation are noted by the following producers: of boats, of meat and milk products, of joinery and carpentry products for the needs of building industry, furniture and metal-machinery production.
In the strategy of the region’s social-economical development up to 2025, there were mentioned some intelligent specializations connected with the above branches. It means that the region is going to concentrate on selected branches of economy, based on the region’s natural resources and on harmonious functioning with the environment. The aforementioned are as follows: economy of waters, the industry of wood and furniture, the industry of food production orientated towards the production of food of high quality.
Surface waters cover about 5,7% of the region area, which is the first place in the whole country. For the previous years the touristic infrastructure by the lakes has been developing well, including ecological marinas. Luxurious hotels with SPA and wellness centres have been built (among others The Krasicki Hotel in Lidzbark Warmiński, the Gallery 69 Hotel in Dorotów, and the Masuria Hotel in Worliny and the Marina Golf Club Hotel in Siła). In the region there are more than 40 thousand of bed places in 107 hotels, 4 motels, 28 guesthouses, 3 hostels, 23 youth hostels, in 38 holiday centres and at 33 camping sites and campgrounds.
The Mazury area is famous for production of yachts, boats and for providing services connected with the branch. The Delphia Yachts from Oleck is one of the biggest companies, which annually produces - mainly for the needs of the Western Europe markets - more than 150 of sailing yachts and a thousand of motor yachts. Other important shipyards in the region are as follows: The Northman from Węgorzewo and the Ostróda Yacht.
More than 30% of the region area is covered with forests. More than 1,1 thousand of companies deal with obtaining wood and with the production of furniture, at which 12,6 thousand of people are employed. Many people are also employed by the production of veneered panels, plywood, laminated boards, particle boards, other boards and by the production of other wood products and wood packaging.
The voivodeship is the leader as regards the production of sawn softwood and hardwood timber. Not only does it supply resources and semi-finished products. Here operate factories producing final products: the IKEA Group in Wielbark and Lubawa, the Mazurskie Meble Trade in Olsztyn, the Dobromiejska Fabryka Mebli or the Szynaka Meble in Lubawa. Local companies have formed the following Clusters: The Mazurskie Okna, the Meble Elbląg and the Lubawa Meble.
Within the Warmia and Mazury region there work 26 thousand of small and medium-size farms supplying natural, traditional and ecological food produced on the basis of own materials. Every farm out of 11 farms is an ecological one (in whole Poland) and almost 15% of arable farming is covered by the system of quality control in the ecological agriculture. 900 companies producing food products and beverages make use of high quality arable farming products.
Inland fishing is a characteristic region branch. In the region there are about 70 fishing farms, which in total make use of more than 107 ha of waters, and which catch about 1,1 thousand tones of fish per year. Discussions on the necessity to stop fishing by means of nets and to replace nets with amateur fishing have been emphasized in the Mazury region for the previous few years. A part of fishing associations, agriculture associations and local self-governments demand it for the reason of decreasing fish effectiveness of lakes.
The biggest investors in the food production branch are as follows: an American meat producer - the Smithfield Food (the Morliny Ełk, the Ekodrob Iława) and a Dutch brewery - the Heineken. Here work also: the Indykpol (a producer of turkey meat and processed products), the Mazurskie Miody (bees’ products), the Polmlek Group (a producer of milk and milk products) and the Tymbark (a producer of juices and still drinks). The region dominates especially in the production of poultry, beef and pork and in the production of hams - the branch employs 7,7 thousand of employers.
In the voivodeship there are also: the Dutch Philips Lighting, which produces light equipment in Kętrzyn, the Alstom Power, which disposes of a turbine factory, a cast-stell and a cast-iron plant in Elbląg and a Dutch company of the textile branch - the Safilin in Szczytno.
An advantage of the region is its staff potential which investors can make use of. The region draws attention because of its good demographic indicators and because of a good ratio of people at the production age, which is higher than in the country.
It can be also characterized by a high supply of the workforce, especially in the group of people aged 18-34. The unemployment level in the region has been decreasing successively from 2006; however, the unemployment rate is still at the level of 18% and is still the highest in the country. The Warmia and Mazury region belongs to the regions of the lowest employment costs in Poland.
In the voivodeship there are more than 115 thousand of young people attending high schools, technical high schools, professional high schools, universities and centres of professional education. About 19 thousand of people graduate from high schools and professional high schools. Almost 50 thousand of students attending 17 universities and 15 thousand of university graduates are the potential of the regional employment market.
The Warmia - Mazury University is the most important university centre, in which 27 thousand of students are studying part-time and full-time, 600 doctoral candidates and 1,5 people continuing post-graduate studies. The university runs classes at 65 faculties and 17 departments. Among them there are 5 faculties ordered by the National Centre of Research and Development - environment protection, chemical and processing engineering, Computer studies, building and biotechnology.
At the UWM (the Warmia - Mazury University) there are seven research centres: the Centre of Research on Renewable Energy, the Educational-Researching Centre of Milk Production, the Eastern Europe Research Centre, the Centre of Social Research, the Centre of Research on Natural and Traditional Food, the Nutri-Bio-Chemical Centre, the Centre of Innovational Diagnostics and Therapeutic Techniques and seven clusters. The University is a member of the Consortium of the Advanced Technologies Centre (RIMAMI). At the Olsztyn university there is also the Centre of Innovation and Technologies Transfer (CIiTT), which helps to effectively make use of employees’ research results for the needs of the economy.
In the region there work 2,5 thousand of scientists engaged in the problems of innovational economy. There are scientific and research-developmental entities highly estimated for successful implementing of new technologies, selling of licenses and their share in international research projects. Including: the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Inland Fishing in Olsztyn, the Centre of Scientific Research named after W. Kętrzyński, the National Professional University in Elbląg which specializes in the ICT and environmental technologies, the Centre of Research and Development of the Dairy and the Centre of Natural and Traditional Food.
In the previous years a few important investments were completed, which are going to support the scientific and research back-up. The following institutions were set up: the Centre of Aquaculture and Ecological Engineering, which includes modern laboratories for the needs of research on water organisms. The Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research within the net of the Regional Centre of Research and Knowledge Transfer “Food for the needs of health” built up high-specialty research laboratories, which can be used for the needs of cooperation with companies for the needs of the agriculture and food branch.
The communication access in the region of Warmia and Mazury has got better within last years. The following roads were built among others: an express road No S-7 from Nidzica to Olsztynek together with a bypass of the city - Miłomłyn-Pasłęk-Elbląg. It is planned to re-build further parts of “the seven” and the road No 51 from Olsztynek to Olsztyn and a bypass of the capital city of the region.
The airport in Szymany is being re-built, which is to cost more than 200 millions PLN. The runway is going to be lengthened and a new terminal is going to be built. The regional airport is to be opened in 2015. The airport is located 10 km from Szczytno and 58 km from Olsztyn. An access to the airport is possible by means of the road No 57 or by means of the Szczytno-Wielbark railway.
A broadband network is also being built, which is to cost 300 million PLN and which is the most important investment of the voivodeship’s self-government from the EU point of view. The network is to supply the inhabitants, institutions and companies with a possibility to make use of the Internet access and with the Co-location services and facilities. The network which is 2, 2 thousand km long and which consists of 226 nodes will cover almost a half of the region.
One of the borders of the Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship constitutes the border with the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation, which is more than 200 km long and which nowadays constitutes the Eastern border of the European Union. The Warmia and Mazury self-governments hope that this border is a chance to make the voivodeship economy develop faster. In the region there are 9 border crossing: road border crossings in Bezledy, Gołdap, Gronów and in Grzechotki, rail border crossings in Braniewo, Głomno and Skandawa and sea border crossings in Elbląg and Frombork.
The access to the Baltic Sea is provided by the seaport in Elbląg, which is the biggest port within the Vistula Lagoon and at the same time the nearest European Union seaport, which services transfers to Kaliningrad and to Bałtyjsk. For the time being it is possible to swim onto the Baltic See through the Russian Pilawski Channel. It is planned to build up a piercing through the Mierzeja Wiślana, which is of importance for the sea port.
In the neighborhood of the border crossing Braniewo-Mamonowo there functions the Braniewo Logistic Terminal, which is the biggest and the most modern transshipment terminal along the border with the Kaliningrad region. It covers the area of 32 ha and it provides services as far as transshipment, warehousing, spedition and logistic servicing of goods and customs clearance are concerned.
A number of passengers crossing the border between Russia and Poland is constantly growing up thanks to the agreement on little border crossing between Poland and Russia, which has been valid since July 2012. Only in 2013 the border was crossed 6 million times. Russians come to Poland to do shopping (food products, AGD, RTV, clothing) and Polish buy in Russia mainly cheaper petrol. Consumption goods are in Poland about 30-40% cheaper than products offered in Kaliningrad and what is more, they are thought to be of better quality.
LBT allows to cross the Polish-Russian border without a visa, only on the basis of a legal permit. On the Russian side there is the whole Kaliningrad region, on the Polish side there is a part of the Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship. About 2, 8 million people, including 1, 9 million people from Poland and over 0, 9 million people from Russia, were covered by the border traffic zone.