Posted on January 14, 2021
The Port of Gdansk expects its €1.3 billion infrastructure investments program to be completed in 2021.
The investments focus on the ‘Inner Port’ and ‘Outer Port’ areas and are crucial to the port’s ambition to compete with the deep seaports of Western Europe and grow cargo handling capacity to more than 60 million tonnes within five years.
Port of Gdansk President Łukasz Greinke said the improvements, which cover almost 40 projects, are a giant leap forward as it seeks to establish its position as the pre-eminent Baltic port.
Greinke said this target remains on course after the port rebounded strongly from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis managing around 48.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2020.
As explained, the robust performance means Gdansk is now officially in the top 20 biggest ports in Europe for the first time.
The investments, which are in various stages of completion, are being driven by a group of public and private organisations working in partnership including the Port of Gdansk, the Maritime Office Gdynia, a Government agency managing the Gulf of Gdansk, and PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe the Polish railway infrastructure manager, as well as businesses based in the port.
The most important and largest investments are being 85 percent co-financed by the European Union through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) instrument.
“This massive infrastructure programme sends a positive message to shipping lines, freight forwarders and businesses across our hinterland,” he said.
“The investments in the Inner and Outer Ports enable us to offer a faster, more efficient and more competitive service. And we have proven this year that our ability to handle all types of cargo makes us agile, resilient and highly attractive to a wide range of businesses. Our ultimate goal is to position Gdansk as a key logistics hub for countries across Central and Eastern Europe at the heart of global supply chains.”
Greinke added that a very important investment due to complete in mid-2021 is the €163million extension and modernization of the road and rail network at the Outer Port.
“In total it will see 7.2 km of roads, 10 km of new rail tracks and seven engineering structures built or rebuilt. This will make it much more efficient for rail, car and truck traffic to reach the terminals with four prime tasks carried out: the expansion of the communication system, the expansion of access to Deepwater Container Terminal (DCT) Gdansk, the largest container terminal on the Baltic Sea, the reconstruction of roads around the North Port and the construction of a parking lot for trucks.”
As explained, the Inner Port investment is valued at €125million and is focused on the modernization of the fairway as well as the expansion of quays and the improvement of navigation conditions in the Inner Port.
“As part of this investment, the fairway will be deepened and most of the quays will be modernized, which will improve the accessibility and safety of navigation to the inner part of the Port of Gdansk for larger ships,” he said.
“After completion of the investment in the second half of 2021, the port channel will gain in width and depth allowing access to a wider range of vessels. The expansion of the quays will further enable the extension of mooring lines. The total length of the modernized quays is almost 5 km, and the fairway is 7 km,” he pointed out.
“Dredging works and the partial reconstruction of the quays are carried out on a section of approximately 7 km, from the entrance heads to the inner port to the turning basin at Polski Hak, behind the Kashubian Canal.”
Greinke said another important investment in the Inner Port of more than €43million, also due to complete in the second half 2021, is the reconstruction of the Dworzec Drzewny Quay.
“Most of the dredging work on the fairway has already been completed. Currently, intensive work is underway on the reconstruction of the quays. A significant part of these tasks has already been performed or is in the decisive phase of implementation.”
The investments in the Inner and Outer Ports are expected to help facilitate the development of plans for a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) LNG terminal in the Bay of Gdansk to be built in partnership between the Port of Gdansk, Gas System, Poland’s state gas pipeline operator and the Maritime Office in Gdynia.
The port has signed a tripartite letter of intent with Gaz-System, and the Maritime Office in Gdynia in September, 2020.
“Gaz-System will play a leading role and will decide where and when to build the LNG terminal. We support this initiative because it is a completely new cargo group for the Port of Gdansk and it can help us become one of the biggest ports in Europe generating millions of tonnes of LNG for reloading having a direct impact on increasing the number of transshipment operations within the port.
” Our joint investment will contribute to the energy independence of our country. It should also be added that in our region, this type of regasification unit, called ‘Independence’ has been already successfully used since 2014 by Lithuanians at the Port of Klaipeda.”
The Port of Gdansk reported in November it had handled 36.2million tonnes in the first three quarters of the year to September and was on course to handle the same amount of cargo it did in 2018 and just under 52.2million tonnes it managed in 2019.
The port reported that DCT Gdansk, as with many container ports, had seen a dip in container volume in 2020 but remains in a strong position as the only port on the Baltic capable of receiving direct calls from Asia, including from the biggest ships in the world.