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Study: Developing Gdansk as Container Hub Port

By MarEx 2014-10-21 13:38:00

The Maritime Institute in Gda?sk (MIG), partner of the EU co-financed TransBaltic Extension initiative and leader of the project’s Task 4.3. “Hub development perspective in the public and market strategies”, has published its final report. MIG has investigated the increasing role of the Port of Gda?sk as Baltic Sea region’s container hub as well if best practices from Gothenburg and Hamburg can be successfully implemented in Gda?sk.

Since 2007 container handlings in the Port of Gda?sk have been witnessing considerable increases – from below 100,000 20-foot boxes (TEU) back in 2007, through over 0.5 million TEU already three years later, to nearly 1.2 million TEU in 2013.

These dates correspond to the launching and development of the Deepwater Container Terminal Gda?sk (DCT), which officially kicked-off its operations in October 2007. In 2010, DCT began receiving Maersk Line’s direct oceangoing Far East weekly services of 8,000 TEU capacity container ships, only to see greater ‘E-class’ (up to 15,500 TEU per ship) in May 2011 and even bigger ‘Triple-Es’ (currently the world’s largest with 18,000 TEU of capacity) in 2013. Last year’s container turnover of DCT totaled 1.15 million TEU, making DCT the biggest box terminal in the Baltic Sea region.

With the help of Maersk’s ‘AE 10’ direct Asia-Europe container service, the Port of Gda?sk become a part of what has to date been called the ‘North Range’ ports (stretching from the French Le Havre to Hamburg in Germany), serving not only the economic development of Poland, but also eastern shores of the Baltic Sea region due to transhipment traffic.

As both new European Union-wide and Poland’s transport policies unfold (such as the updated Trans-European Transport Network, TEN-T, the Europe 2020 strategy, the Maritime Policy of the Republic of Poland until 2020 or the Pomorskie Voivodeship Development Strategy 2020) new opportunities emerge for container hubs, including also Gda?sk. Here hubs are designed to function as local, national and regional engines of growth.

Despite Gda?sk’s success and the fact that the harbor has been shortlisted as one of TEN-T core ports, the MIG study tables a few shortcomings Gda?sk needs to address. First and foremost, the quality of hinterland connections, particularly rail, must be improved in order to make Gda?sk a genuine multimodal spot for overland Central Eastern Europe shipments. Some best practices in this regards can be copied from Gothenburg (the ‘Railport Scandinavia’ shuttle system) and Hamburg (emphasis on highly efficient and on time combined sea-rail long-haul transports). Secondly, the logistics offer needs to be strengthened to make Gda?sk a value added port/city of choice. Thirdly, port investments red tape has to be cut to absolute minimum, thus making it easier to attract new parties ready to further develop Gda?sk port.

The Port of Gda?sk constitutes a long-lasting value not only for the City of Gda?sk, but for the entire Baltic Sea region and Europe. Further development of Gda?sk port requires proper actions to meet economic, social and environmental goals. To make this come true, a long-term cooperation between local, national and regional authorities is needed.”  -Urszula Kowalczyk, Head of the Economics and Law Department at the Maritime Institute Gda?sk 

It is now up to the relevant stakeholders to take the advantage of the report’s findings to help Gda?sk in strengthening its role as a container hub port by implementing innovative transport and logistics solutions.