Plans to expand ports towards the sea (in order to utilize natural depths), related to increasing their accessibilty by ocean-going vessels, seem justified, especially considering the absence of areas available for development in inner ports and their lack of ability to service large vessels, however the scale of investments and application of specific technological solutions should be based on the cost-effectiveness of the investment. The process of implementing such ambitious investments as the so-called outer ports (intended to last) must be divided into stages.
When considering the validity of large investment projects in Polish ports, it is necessary to consider connections between port service markets and commodity markets operating on their hinterlands, as the situation on commodity markets forms one of the primary factors that determine the operation and growth of port service markets. It is managers of cargo being the subject of maritime trade that generate demand for land and maritime transport of this cargo and demand for its handling in ports.
Ensuring the financing for ambitious investment programmes in ports may undoubtedly prove to be a major problem. Therefore, it seems necessary to search for external investors who are not only willing to establish themselves on the Polish coast, finance investments and then use the resulting facilities, but also able to bring cargo to Polish ports. Port managers are largely involved in efforts aimed to obtain the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterway Transport’s approval for the concept of the Central Port in Gdańsk as well as Outer Ports in Gdynia and Świnoujście, and to find external investors and sources of financing for planned investments. It needs to be noted, however, that a significant increase in service capacity in all major Polish ports will lead to greater competition between them, which may be to the advantage of their customers, especially if the services offered will match their expectations, but taking into consideration the simultaneous competition from foreign ports (planning to implement or already implementing their own investments aimed to increase their service capacities) may lead to problems with the utilization of resulting infrastructure, especially in the situation of limited demand for services.
One of the panels of the Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia 2018 will be dedicated to sea ports.
Article developed in cooperation with "Namiary na Morze i Handel" magazine.
Phot. source: Namiary na Morze i Handel magazine