pomorski park naukowo- technologiczny gdynia

Aleja Zwycięstwa 96/98

81-451 Gdynia


Container terminal operations update for the first quarter of the year


The results for the first quarter of the year were spectacular, in terms of cargo handling operations in the Polish ports. In total our ports handled more than 750 thousand TEU and this was nearly 10% more than last year’s result. Since January container handling operations increased gradually: from 239 thousand to 245 thousand in February, reaching 270 thousand TEU in March. These quarterly and monthly results were an all time record for our ports.  What is even more astonishing, is that this result was down to solely two ports: Gdańsk and Gdynia, since at the Szczecin port there were fewer containers, and at Świnoujście there were none so far this year.

The monthly record result was achieved in March by the Baltic Container Terminal. It was better than a decade ago, when the terminal experienced its  heyday, with far less competition from other terminals, and when the operating capacity of more than 40 thousand TEU per month was frequently reached (as was the case from time to time in 2014).

The month of March also produced record results for the Gdynia Container Terminal, however the preceding two months were not as successful, hence the quarter of the year figures were lower than those for the previous year, by 5.4 thousand TEU. By contrast, the March figures at the DCT Container Terminal Gdańsk  were the second highest in its history, apart from August last year. What is interesting, in terms of the quarterly figures, it was the BCT terminal which noted the largest increase in container volume: 40.4 thousand, comparing to 39 thousand at the DCT. Were it not for the lower figures reached at the GCT, the Port of Gdynia very nearly turned out the best yet again,(if only in this one quarter), in terms of container operations.

Nevertheless, in comparison with the equivalent period of a year ago, there is a marked shift in the proportional participation of the individual ports in servicing the maritime container shipping. The participation of the Western Coast ports decreased from 4 to 2% and the entire container shipping takes place only at Szczecin, since as mentioned before, the Świnoujście port had not been handling any containers for quite some time. At the East Coast in the first quarter the participation of the Gdansk Port decreased from 67 to 65%, whereas that of the Port of Gdynia rose from 29 to 33%.

There are many indications that the reason for the excellent results achieved for this quarter at Gdynia is to be found at...Gdansk, and to be specific, it is the congestion at the DCT, which this terminal has been battling with for several months. Despite the recent increase in cargo handling capacity - up to 3.25 mln TEU per annum - there is a problem with servicing such large container volumes, generated by the two largest shipping companies, which dispatch their vessels to Gdańsk on a weekly basis. It is clear that the rise in dockside capacity with a systematic increase in the number of efficient gantry cranes is not being followed by the rail track infrastructure of the terminal. The length and number of existing tracks and loading equipment is incapable of meeting the growing needs of the clients, who increasingly chose the safer and more ecologically sound rail transport option.

In the recent months, due to  the congestion problems  at the DCT mentioned previously, ships that were originally destined for the port of Gdansk arrived at Gdynia. The recently enlarged turning basin facilitated the docking of large container ships. Even though these were not the largest of the vessels which regularly appear in Gdansk, however they did exceed those which are the usual clients of the Port of Gdynia, in terms of their size and capacity. It had an immediate effect on the size of container operations at both Gdynia terminals.

  Article developed with 'Namiary na Morze i Handel' magazine.

 4 namiary