pomorski park naukowo- technologiczny gdynia

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81-451 Gdynia


Breaking records with a smaller growth dynamics

In 2019 the Polish container terminals recorded another growth in container throughput. This time the result was improved by 8% and reached an all time record of more than 3.044 million TEU. On the one hand, we can rejoice that the value of 3 million TEU per annum has been exceeded, but on the other hand, it is also the lowest growth rate achieved in the past decade. The worse results were recorded only in 2009 and 2015, when the value of the container throughput dropped. However, it should also be taken into account that, that particular decade was marked by very dynamic growth rates. The average growth rate in that period amounted to 17.6%, even taking into account the 13% drop in 2015. The total growth in throughput at container terminals between 2009 and 2019 reached 357%.

However not all the terminals participated in the y/y growth of container throughput. Gdynia Container Terminal (GCT) recorded a 2% decline, and DB Port Szczecin a 1.5% drop. On the other hand, the top growth rates were reached at OT Port Gdynia - 34% and the Baltic Container Terminal (BCT) - 24%. Whereas the Deepwater Container Terminal Gdańsk (DCT) recorded 7% growth in container throughput. This was reflected in the changes in the shares of individual terminals in the total container throughput. The largest terminal, the DCT, lost 1 percentage point in relation to 2018, reaching 68% of the share figure. The BCT thanks to its dynamic growth, gained 3 percentage points and its 2019 share in the total container throughput amounted to 17%. Losses of 1 percentage point each were recorded at GCT with 13% and at DB Port Szczecin with 2%. This indicates that the current small share of the West Pomeranian ports in the total container throughput is even less significant. At the moment as much as 98% turnover is being done at the Gdańsk Bay terminals.

Additionally, all of the Polish container terminals utilize 58% of their cargo throughput potential, which is a record result since 2014. In 2019 the factors that played a role in the increased rate of potential utilization were both increased throughput as well as the decline in the BCT potential. DCT utilizes its potential in 64%, but at the Szczecinskie Quay located at the Port of Gdańsk, which has resumed its container service in 2019, the turnover stands at only 2% of its maximum potential. In Gdynia, the BCT terminal, which for the first time exceeded a 500 thousand TEU threshold, only just reached half of its maximum potential. And one of the reasons for this, is that in contrast to 2018 its cargo throughput potential decreased by 200 thousand TEU - when the 2 oldest container quay cranes were scrapped. The terminal that utilizes its potential to a larger degree is the GCT, where the cargo throughput reached the level of 60% of its maximum potential. On the other hand, a much higher turnover could be achieved at the OT Port Gdynia, which utilizes only 8% of its potential. Amongst the Oder River ports, DB Port Szczecin utilizes 63% of its potential, whereas throughout the entire 2019 the potential of OT Port Świnoujście remained unutilized - by the end of 2018 cargo handling operations ceased altogether at this port.

To sum up the container throughput for the year 2019, it seems that it is the largest terminals which have the biggest potential for further growth. The problem that exists at the smaller terminals is not the absence of cargo throughput potential, since the existing potential is being utilized to a small degree, but rather the labour productivity as well as the quality of existing infrastructure. In the absence of a suitable technical depth, a quay lacking modern design and adequate lenght, and an efficently organized supply base, which facilitates fast inspection, loading of cargo from containers off/onto cars and trains and forwarding it to receivers, it becomes difficult for these ports to establish new links both in terms of feeder service and long distance shipping. What is also noticeable is a certain degree of deceleration in the rate of container throughput growth dynamics, which was high in the preceeding period. On the one hand it could be a derivative of the uncertainty present in the world economy, and on the other, of the gradual adaptation to the global dimensions of the maritime container transport and to the requirements of the Central European economy.

Article developed with "Namiary na Morze i Handel" magazine

phot. T. Urbaniak/ZMPG-a

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