Striving for versatility
"Poland's Infrastructure II" - supplement to "Rzeczpospolita", 6th of March, 2002. The supplement has been prepared under the auspices of the Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure - Mr. Marek Szymonski.
PORT OF GDANSK - the fastest, the best and the most economical
An interview with Krzysztof Urbas,
Member of the Board, Development Director of the Port of Gdansk Authority SA
How is the Port of Gdansk coping with the competitiveness of other Baltic seaports?
Likewise other Polish ports we are facing severe competition from the Baltic States and North-Western European seaports - says Krzysztof Urbas, Port's Development Director. - These are the rules of market economy, though in this case, to a slight extend, the economy relies on the Port's charges applied. Nowadays a port's attractiveness consists in modern handling facilities of containers and ro-ro system cargoes, proper operation of distribution and logistics, as well as efficient, fast and safe transportation of cargo from the hinterland to the port.
The location is considered to be our main advantage as the Port of Gdansk is situated in such a place and is suited for servicing sea vessels in such a way that it can accept calls from ships entering the Baltic Sea at a maximum draught. The Port lies at the beginning of a projected Trans-European A-1 Motorway (TAPP) that will constitute a network of motorways with total length of about 10 thousand kilometers and will provide a transportation link between the Port and the states in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region.
We can successfully cope with the competition in the field of bulk cargo handling i.e. crude oil, fuels, coal, ore, fertilizers and sulphur given high quality terminals suited for handling volumes greatly exceeding current rates of throughput. However, we are striving for a more versatile character of the Port and that involves restructuring of the existing terminals or development of new ones such as container, passenger and ro-ro terminals.
What are the investment projects planned for the nearest future in terms of the development and upgrading of the Port's infrastructure in Gdansk?
Port of Gdansk is one of the most interesting investment opportunities along the Gdansk coastline. Currently, there is a large number of European and worldwide companies involved in the Port's development. The range of contracted investments, inter alia, includes liquid chemicals terminal operated by Oiltanking. Besides, the Europort grain and fodder terminal is presently under construction. The plans envisage the development of Rudoport iron ore terminal, though the relevant decisions are not directly dependant on the Port of Gdansk. We have entered a contract of lease and the beginning of construction work has been properly secured. However, the decision to commence the development work is related to the procedures aimed at establishing a Polish steel consortium. In the statements made by the Ministry of Economy in charge of Polish steelworks we have been assured that the decision concerning the development of the Rudoport terminal will be made as soon as the foundation of the Polish steel consortium is successfully concluded.
Another benefit of the Port's favourabale location will comprise a passenger and ferry terminal. In the nearest future the launch of a new passenger and ferry terminal is projected in this part of the Port that is situated on the Martwa Wisla. Our intention is to take full advantage of the port's situation directly bordering on the city of Gdansk. The location of a passenger and ferry terminal in Gdansk will reduce the operating costs of ship owners offering such services thus ensure high level of attractiveness in terms of the tourism industry. In future a development of a sizable ferry and passenger terminal is planned in the Northern Port.
What are the financial means to support these investments?
First of all they are the Port's own funds raised from the collection of port's charges. It is also possible to take loans. The other source of funds is the foreign contribution such as foreign investments. In fact sizable investments financially supported by means of domestic resources are practically non existent in the Port's area. Pursuant to the provisions of the Law the procedures of financing port development severely narrow the investment opportunities of port's authorities as compared with other European ports. The Port of Gdansk Authority SA which introduced the separate approach towards the port management and its operational activities as of May 1991 had been forced earlier than the other ports to base its business activities on the income from the tonnage charges and on a rent for leased grounds.
How can you describe the structure of cargo handling at the Port of Gdansk? What measures can be adopted to increase a rate of container and general cargo throughput in this structure?
The Port Authority as such is not involved in cargo canvassing. The Authority provides suitable conditions to the port's customers, who solely decide on a type and a volume of cargo to be handled at the Port. This applies, in particular, to general cargo and the versatile quays, where cargo canvassing depends entirely on the port's customers. The Port's operation is dominated by continuous bulk cargoes, however, we are striving to expand the range of services on offer.
It was three years ago that a container terminal was launched for operation in the Inner Port. A significant growth in the turnover is forecast as soon as a new container terminal is commissioned in the Northern Port. The investors are expecting a turnover of about one or one and a half million TEU. This target can be achieved over the next decade, however, if the development work is commenced next year, in 2006 the Port will be able to provide services at a rate of about 250 to 500 thousand TEU. The hinterland of this terminal is planned to accommodate a logistics center to ensure suitable supply of cargo for the terminal's operation.
Ports that refuse to take up distribution activities and fail to become distribution centers cease to exist on the market. The increased container and general cargo turnover constitutes the indispensable expansion trend to ensure ports development. Nowadays, if a port chooses to adopt a bulk cargo oriented strategy it is bound to fail.
|Handling of general cargo at the Port of Gdansk |
| || General cargo - total || General cargo in containers || Motor vehicles |
| 1988 || 1 240 426 || 16 426 || 342 |
| 1999 || 1 411 447 || 43 561 || 7 912 |
| 2000 || 1 595 103 || 153 331 || 8 946 |
| 2001 ||1 779 572 || 207 229 || 17 940 |
Is the Port of Gdansk well prepared for the implementation of the state's infrastructure development plan adopted by the Government?
The currently binding strategy of the Port of Gdansk Authority SA is entirely corresponding with the provisions of the governmental transport infrastructure development plan which means that we both share the main strategic goals that consist in the best possible adjustment of the infrastructure facilities and the port's organization to the standards required by the European port market, as well as to the expansion trends adopted at the European ports. This is aimed at the reduction of differences that remain disadvantageous to Polish ports in terms of the structure and level of services offered, so that they can become a significant and in full rights member of the European Union's integrated transportation network, in particular, the Transportation Corridor No. VI. From our Port's point of view this means that it is necessary to modernize and expand handling capacity of containers and ro-ro system. Providing suitable grounds for the development of a distribution and logistics centre at the Port of Gdansk appears to be an indispensable task in order to pursue the desirable development trends. These strategic aims can only be achieved by means of modern and upgraded transportation infrastructure, in particular, the A-1 motorway. The results of our efforts include, among the others, last year's successful completion of the John Paul II Bridge over the Martwa Wisla that serves as a Port's "gateway" to the national road network and a projected A-1 motorway. Currently, we co-operate with the municipal administration with the view of a planned road development to connect the bridge with the motorway. A suspension bridge had been put into service and the agreement made to connect it with the projected A-1 motorway. The Port will financially support the development of this connection. In the course of the same transportation route a development of a tunnel is planned under the port's canal. Upon its completion the Port will gain a two-sided connection with the transportation system surrounding the Port's area.
Thank you for the interview.