"DCT" - the Port of Gdansk's container brand
Less than 3 years ago, on 1 June 2007, the Team Lines owned "Götaland" inaugurated the operation of a newly built Deepwater Container Terminal adjacent to the Northern Port. Although by the end of 2007 this new port facility handled a symbolic volume of 4,423 TEU, its throughput reached 106,356 and 162,018 TEU respectively over the ensuing years. Further expansion of the terminal's infrastructure by providing additional gantry cranes and the most advanced machinery for moving containers was coupled by intense marketing activity. The date 4 January 2010 - which marked the call of "Maersk Taikung" capable of loading 8,500 TEU - launched a new era for DCT: Gdansk became the easternmost port facility suited to receiving ocean-going container ships in the ice-free part of the Baltic Sea.
It is with great and still increasing satisfaction that since that time I have watched giant vessels take berth at DCT. Container carriers of a similar size make regular calls there on a weekly basis. The ships operate under the AE10 service - a direct connection between the Asian ports and Gdansk - which is rapidly taking over the container shipping market on the Baltic Sea. In addition to serving Polish foreign trade, DCT has attained the rank of a hub for ports in Russia and Finland. This ambitious task could not have been accomplished by anyone else but "Maersk Line". From among almost half thousand vessels owned by this carrier, we have already seen 28 various ships with a carrying capacity of over 8,000 TEU, docking in Gdansk, of which 16 have made calls at DCT two or three times.
The year 2010 was particularly successful for this terminal. In September, DCT handled a record high volume of 47,153 TEU, thus reaching a better result than two Gdynia-based container terminals in total. The entire year was closed with a result of 451,730 TEU. This success came not only owing to the terminal's state-of-the-art equipment and machinery, but mainly thanks to the dedicated effort of DCT's 350 employees. Already two years ago, while watching the unloading of "Racha Bhum", I had the opportunity to admire the efficiency and highly skilled labour performed by the operators of the gantry cranes, tractors and fork-lifts. The handling of 504 20-feet containers and 498 40-feet containers (a total of 1,500 TEU) took less than 12 hours at that time. DCT's continuous improvement of its team performance, creating good employment prospects and appropriate shaping of relationships between the company and its employees have been highly recognized by the "Employers of Pomerania" contest committee, which awarded DCT Gdansk with the honour of 2010 Pomerania's Best Employer.
The high recognition of DCT's throughput potential and the terminal's rapid growth, coupled with its full preparedness for receiving ocean-going vessels, have given rise to another important conclusion, also among the "Maersk Line" management. Already last year, an increased container turnover could be observed in the Baltic shipping whilst vessels calling at Gdansk under the AE10 service made an increasingly better use of their carrying capacity. The analysis of the emerging market demands has induced "Maersk Line" to substantially modify its Asia service. The announced 2011 schedule of ship calls to be made at DCT includes the world's biggest container carriers, which of course are operated by "Maersk". Already on 11 May, Gdansk is expecting the first of them, "Maersk Elba", with a carrying capacity of 13,092 TEU. Two weeks later, on 25 May, DCT will provide berth to an even bigger container ship, "Eleonora Maersk", capable of shipping 15,550 TEU. And in June - we will see the first in a series of 8 world's biggest container carriers - "Emma Maersk" (tonnage: 171 thou. GT, length: 397 metres, breadth: 56 metres, draught: 15,5 metres) - built in 2006 by the Danish Odense Steel Shipyard Ltd.
Over the first three months of this year, DCT has already handled 150,000 TEU. Based on this premise, the terminal's 2011 forecasted turnover of 700 thou. TEU seems to be within the reach of its... gantry cranes. The significance of the Gdansk-based DCT both on the Baltic Sea and worldwide has already been ensured. The new calls schedule of Maersk's giant carriers not only strengthens the terminal's position, but also encourages its management to embark on another development phase aimed to double the annual throughput capacity up to 2 million TEU. Successful cooperation with the Danish shipping tycoon has greatly influenced decisions regarding development plans. In 1996, container ships of the Regina Maersk Class with a carrying capacity of 7,100 TEU began entering service. The following year, vessels of the Sovereign Maersk Class could load 1,000 TEU more. Since 2006, the company has operated carriers of the Emma class, capable of shipping 15,500 TEU. It soon transpired that this was not the last word from Maersk. Starting from 2013, its fleet will be enhanced by ten ships of the Triple-E Maersk Class, with a carrying capacity of 18,000 20-feet containers, commissioned at the Korean DSME Shipyard. Possibly, one day we might see these giants too in Gdansk, as their hulls will be barely 3 metres longer and broader than in the vessels seen so far, with a maximum draught of 14.5 metres.
PGA SA PR Officer