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Maersk in the Port of Gdansk - a change of geography and new trends in container shipping on the Baltic Sea

21.11.2011

At a joint conference with PGA SA held on 17th November 2011 on board Ebba Maersk mooring in DCT, a new Head of Maersk Polska Sp. z o.o. for Central and Eastern Europe Thomas Bagge presented a new plan of extending the share of his container ship fleet in handling the exchange of goods between Asia and Europe.

On 4th January 2010, Maersk Taikung, berthing in Deepwater Container Terminal of the Gdansk port, inaugurated a direct container service from the Far East to Gdansk. Every week ever since, within the AE10 plan, ships capable of taking on board up to 8,000 TEU at one time have called at the port. The role of the Gdansk port in international trade has grown significantly. As the Asian container ship opened up new vistas for both exporters and importers from the states of the Baltic Sea area, Gdansk again became the sea gateway to Central and Eastern Europe.

For a few consecutive months the economic mathematics of A.P. Moller-Maersk confirmed that the decision to include Gdansk into the network of Europe's basic container ports was the right one. The evaluation of the growth rate of goods exchange between Asia and Europe also showed favourable prospects for Gdansk as a Baltic container hub. After over a year from launching the AE10 service, Maersk Line made a decision to increase the deadweight capacity of the container ships operating within it from 8,000 to 15,500 TEU. On 11th of May 2011, the 13,092 TEU Maersk Elba, the first container ship of the E-class series, called at Gdansk. A week later, the port saw Eleonora Maersk (15,500 TEU) calling, and on 29th of June Emma Maersk herself, the flagship vessel of the whole class, entered Gdansk for the first time.

After nearly two years from the analyses, the dynamic turnover of the Asia-Europe container shipping service, accompanied by the parallel development of the handling and storage capacity of the Gdansk DCT, still portends well for Maersk Line. The ship owner, as President Eiving Kolding announced, forecasts a 5-7% annual increase in the demand for deadweight capacity of the ships covering the goods exchange between Asia and Europe. That is why the ship owner has already placed a double-lot order at the Korean Daewoo Shipbuilding & Mine Engineering Co. for the construction of 20 container ships of the Triple-E class, each of which prepared to load 18,000 TEU at one time.

At a joint conference with PGA SA held on 17th November 2011 on board Ebba Maersk mooring in DCT, a new Head of Maersk Polska Sp. z o.o. for Central and Eastern Europe Thomas Bagge presented a new plan of extending the share of his container ship fleet in handling the exchange of goods between Asia and Europe. The new service, which guarantees daily calls of the AE10 ships, reliable on-time deliveries of cargoes entrusted and lower freight rates, covered four Asian ports (Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian and Tanjung Pelepas) and three European ones (Felixstowe, Rotterdam and Bremerhaven). These trends in maritime transport are a natural response to changes of container maritime transport geography which have also occurred on the Baltic. The prevailing conviction emerging from the presentation by PGA SA Marketing Director Julian Skelnik, rounded out by Vice-President of the Board Wojciech Lakomski, was that of a deep understanding of the developments on the Baltic Sea and of a necessity to keep tightening cooperation with entities involved in container turnover in the Gdansk port.

It is a positive occurrence that the conference - combined with a unique opportunity to have o tour around the oceangoing gigantic container ship - gathered a large group journalists representing all types of media coverage. Dry statistics, even those concerning stirring record-breaking throughput volumes of the Port of Gdansk (27.2 M tons in 2010), do not suffice to express economic significance of Poland's having its own dynamically operating sea port. They need to be enriched with knowledge about particular actions performed by maritime turnover actors, who try to invest in ports, ships and trade support technologies. One has to appreciate the fact that, apart from ensuring the realization its primary function - reloading liquid fuels and coal, Gdansk has launched timely investments into cutting-edge container technologies. It is thanks to this agility that it has become a universal port ready to receive and ship any cargo. This picture makes it clear that if cargoes worth 100bn zlotys passed through the port within a year, it is exporters and importers in both regions of the world at the extreme ends of the shipping service who made the greatest profit. Without the shipping service, the scale of this exchange would not have been so impressive.

PGA SA PR Officer

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