|Function:||Deputy President of the Management Board for Infrastructure|
|Company:||Management of the Seaport in Gdańsk|
Polish ports are gaining foothold on the European transshipment market. Gdańsk is investing in infrastructure and hoping to take over some clients from German ports
The Seaport in Gdańsk is to invest PLN 600 m in two major projects supported by EU funds. These are to attract new clients within the Baltic Sea region, which is Europe’s fastest growing sea area. Transshipment volume in Polish ports is growing i.a. because of favourable economic conditions.
“The first quarter of 2018 was very good for the transshipment sector. In January we transshipped more than 4 million tons of goods and it was another month with such impressive performance. The port in Gdańsk is recording the fastest growth in containerised cargo, fuel, coal, and new cargo categories, which have only recently become handled in Gdańsk, namely wood,” Marcin Osowski, Deputy President of the Management Board for Infrastructure at the Seaport in Gdańsk, told Newseria Bizness.
In 2017, the port in Gdańsk handled over 40.6 m tons of cargo. This is more than twice as much as ten years earlier. The position of the Seaport in Gdańsk is also growing for Polish sea transshipments. Between 2015 and 2016, these constituted 46% in terms of both quantity and value. In January, the port transshipped 4.19 m tons – well over 10% of the volume reported for the previous year as a whole.
“We are expecting the transshipments to be growing until the end of 2018. Perhaps this growth will be slightly disturbed by the investment programme which is only getting into gear, and by some disruptions on the coasts, but we believe this will be yet another great year for the port in Gdańsk,” says Marcin Osowski with enthusiasm. “In Poland, prospects [for the sea transport – ed.] are really good. We continue to upgrade our infrastructure, or actually are responding to the growing demand. In my opinion, Europe will not see such a great dynamics, but an upward trend should be maintained in the next years.”
Baltic Sea is the fastest-growing region in Europe. Compared to 2001, its sea turnover in 2015 grew by more than 55%, while for North Sea it was just under 30%, for Atlantic less than 20%, and for the Mediterranean slightly more than 15%.
Among Baltic ports, Gdańsk ranks sixth before Riga, Rostock, Szczecin-Świnoujście and Lübeck. The top three are Russian ports, followed by Gothenburg and Klaipėda. Gdańsk ranked its highest place in containerised transport, and was second only to Saint Petersburg (data for 2016).
In late March, the port signed EU-subsidised agreements for two major investment projects. As part of the first the port will deepen the harbour channel and redevelop the quays in the Inner Harbour, and the second will involve the upgrading of the rail and road network in the Outer Harbour. In total, those investments amount to approx. PLN 600 m, of which 85% was provided by the EU.
“Polish ports are growing in importance. This is the result of favourable economic conditions and investments in infrastructure, but this potential has not been fully exploited yet. We are hoping to take over, mainly from German ports, what we should be naturally handling, that is transport to Poland and Central Europe – the Deputy President expects – When it comes to export directions, we can obviously handle our domestic exports and that of our neighbours, such as Belarus, northern Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and even part of Hungary; and as regards imports, it is mainly the Far East, Singapore, China, South Korea and, possibly, some new directions, such as the USA.
In 2015, the largest trade partner for the Seaport in Gdańsk was Russia (49%), followed by Norway and China without Hongkong (8% each), Israel (7%), and Singapore, Morocco and South Korea (4% each).
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