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The Warsaw Voice » Business » November 29, 2012
Business & Economy
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Port of Gdynia Turns 90
November 29, 2012   
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The seaport in the northern city of Gdynia has turned 90, prompting the port’s partners and employees, both past and present, to reflect on its achievements so far. In this age of stiff competition, it is vital to think of what the future might bring, which is why the port authorities say they keep investing in safety and better access to the port by sea and land.

The history of the Port of Gdynia began with a law that the Polish parliament passed Sept. 23, 1922, on building a new port in Gdynia, which at the time was a small village. A succession of projects carried out in the 1920s and 1930s transformed the mouth of the local Chylonka creek and a small fishing harbor into a buoyant seaport and a big city that now constitutes an important center for the maritime sector on the Baltic Sea.

“The construction of the port and city is one of the finest achievements in our recent history,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in a letter to the Port of Gdynia staff written on the 90th anniversary. “This was no propaganda, Gdynia was a real reason for the nation to feel proud.”

Many projects completed
The first decade of the 21st century saw extensive investment in the Port of Gdynia. Over zl.800 million was spent between 2003 and 2011 on enhanced transportation links between the port and the mainland, including new streets and roads connecting the port to the beltway along the Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot Tricity. The plans for the coming several years are equally ambitious, aiming to carry out projects totaling over zl.450 million by 2014.

The Baltic Sea is opening to larger vessels than ever before and the market for cargo containers has recovered after a period of recession. The supply of packaged freight shipped between land and sea is expected to increase. Consequently, both ship owners and container terminal operators are still looking forward to projects designed to improve navigation conditions and access to the Port of Gdynia terminals via land.

In 2003-2011, the Port of Gdynia Authority (ZMPG) spent a total of over zl.600 million on infrastructure in the port and its surroundings. For shipowners, an extremely important project in terms of safety was the redevelopment of the main breakwater, complete with the modernization of the port’s navigation system. Worth more than zl.90 million, the project was carried out by the Maritime Office in Gdynia and a part of it was financed using the European Regional Development Fund.

Port channel and quays
The redevelopment of the Port of Gdynia channel, in a project worth zl.90.5 million, gross, was a milestone. The channel’s depth was increased to 13.5 meters, which radically improved access to terminals for larger vessels. Shipowner service quality also improved thanks to new, two-level ramps for the handling of “ro-ro” (roll-on roll-off) cargo at the ferry and general cargo terminals. In order to ensure more comfortable ship servicing, the port redeveloped several of its quays, a project involving structure reinforcement and dredging of the approaches.

The city and port of Gdynia also undertook the prestigious project to redevelop a quay near Ko¶ciuszki Square, an important tourist site in summer that hosts major international events such tall ship races.

Infrastructure on land
Businesses operating on land, in turn, were more interested in changes occurring in the Port of Gdynia’s land infrastructure. The modernization of the Kwiatkowski Highway, complete with connecting the road to the Tricity beltway, marked a turning point for companies shipping goods to and from the Port of Gdynia container, ro-ro and ferry terminals and for the growing logistics area. Tenants have moved into the first logistics warehouse (Terramar and Morska Agencja Gdynia companies) and the Rolls Royce company is one of the first investors in the logistics area. The port keeps enlarging infrastructure for the servicing of ro-ro vessels, with access by road and railway. It is also beginning to develop another quay, a project scheduled for completion in 2014.

Further investment and contacts
As part of its strategic projects, the Port of Gdynia Authority plans to deepen the port channel to 15.5 meters, build a new ferry terminal, enlarge the logistics and distribution center and modernize train tracks leading to the terminals. Quick strategic decisions need to be made regarding the construction of a 480-meter railway turntable in the center of the port. Once the turntable is ready and the port channel is 15.5 meters deep, the port will be capable of accommodating Baltmax ships, which are the largest vessels allowed on the Baltic Sea.

The hard work of the Port of Gdynia Authority has not passed unnoticed on markets abroad, as evidenced by study visits and numerous business contacts with partners in Europe and the Far East. The Port of Gdynia recently hosted a delegation from Zhuhai Port Holdings Group, which manages the port complex near Hong Kong. Other recent guests have included representatives from the China Harbour Engineering Company and the China Communications Construction Company. Last autumn, the port terminals were visited by businessmen from the largest automotive, electronics and steel corporations in Japan.

The Port of Gdynia has evolved into a significant logistics center in the Baltic region and Europe. The port has been invited to take part in a number of important projects carried out in the EU. The port is also marked on maps used by the world’s key logistics operators.

Marek Grzybowski
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