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Port of Gdynia achieves its record result


The COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on the Polish seaport cargo handling volumes in 2020, interrupting a nearly 10-year cycle of growth. It was for the first time since 2011 that their combined result was lower than the turnover achieved a year earlier. In 2011, however, the drop was symbolic, down by only 0.2%, but in 2020 it reached 4%, which resembled the situation from 2008 (down by 6%) and 2009 (down by 10%). Thus, the scenario was repeated when the economic crisis - then in the financial sector, now in the real sector - reduces the volume of trade in maritime transport.

Total volume of cargo handled by the Polish ports last year amounted to 105.5 million tonnes. This is 4.5 million tonnes less compared to 2019, and almost 2 million tonnes less compared to 2018. The port most affected by the pandemic was the Port of Gdańsk, where the difference between 2019 and last year’s cargo handling volumes was 8%, which produced a result of 48 million tonnes - 4 million tonnes less than in 2019. At the other extreme is the Port of Gdynia, where 24.7 million tonnes of goods were handled in 2020, that is, by 3% more than in 2019 (731,000 tonnes), thus producing a record result for this port in its history.

The main reason for this good result was the significant increase in the volumes of grain handling. Compared to 2019, volumes of grain handled increased by 2.2 million tonnes (69%), reaching the level of 5.4 million tonnes. Cargo handling in the ‘other bulk’ group also increased by 80 thousand tonnes, resulting in a 5% y/y dynamics. In the other cargo groups, results were lower than in 2019. The biggest drop was recorded in coal handling, which was down by 1.2 million tonnes (41%). There was a drop in timber handling - by 263 thousand tonnes (72%), and a drop in liquid fuels by 91 thousand tonnes (5%). General cargo handling remained practically unchanged. With a turnover of approximately 14.1 million tonnes, the drop in this case amounted to 14,000 tonnes. Compared to 10 years ago, turnover in Gdynia increased by 67%. Volumes of handled grain grew the most dynamically - by 226%. Timber handling increased by 131%, liquid fuels by 93% and of general cargo by 73%. For coal, turnover in 2020 was identical to 2010. In contrast, the volumes of ‘other bulk’ commodities decreased by 31%. Handling of ore ceased altogether.

In contrast, the Szczecin-Świnoujście port complex as well as the port at Police showed almost identical dynamics of a drop in turnover. At Szczecin-Świnoujście the drop was 3%, and 31.2 million tonnes were handled there - 998 thousand tonnes less than a year before, while at Police the volumes were down by 4%, which produced a result of 1.7 million tonnes - 77 thousand tonnes less than the year before.

In general, taking into account the types of cargo, it was the drop in the liquid fuel turnover that contributed the most to the growth decline at the Polish ports in 2020. In 2019, 3.4 million tonnes more of liquid fuels were handled, resulting in a y/y decline rate of 14% and a turnover of 20.4 million tonnes in 2020. The decline in the volume of liquid fuels handled was more than compensated by the increase in grain handling. In 2020, 8.8 million tonnes of it were handled - that is, 3.7 million tonnes more than the year before, an increase of 71.5%. There was also 2% more of bulk cargo, which produced a result of approximately 10.8 million tonnes in this cargo group. Other commodities appeared in ports less frequently. The volumes of coal handling dropped by 2.9 million tonnes, producing a result of 9.9 million tonnes (down by 22.5%), and general cargo dropped by 1.4 million tonnes - reaching a result of 53.1 million tonnes (down by 2.6%). There was also slightly less ore - with 2.3 million tonnes, 65,000 tonnes less than in 2019 (down by 2.8%). On the other hand, the volumes of timber were minimal - 218 thousand tonnes, or 603 thousand tonnes less than the year before (down by 73.5%).

Despite the biggest decline, Gdańsk obviously remains the largest Polish port, with a 45% share of total cargo handling - 2 percentage points less than a year ago. In the second position, in terms of volumes of cargo handled, is the Szczecin-Świnoujście port complex, which had a 30% share of total turnover in 2020 - 1 percentage point higher than the year before. Gdynia has a 23% share - also by 1 percentage point higher than in 2019. Police, on the other hand, has a 2% share of the total volumes of cargo handled - the same as a year earlier.

Article developed with "Namiary na Morze i Handel" magazine

phot. Namiary na Morze i Handel


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