18 December 2017

Polish ports – the only ones in the Visegrad Group Region

Poland, with its four large seaports in Gdańsk, Gdynia, Szczecin and Świnoujście, is the only country of the Visegrad Group that has access to the sea. The largest port, with 44% of the domestic market share, is located in Gdańsk, and it is the second largest container hub of the Baltic Sea, handling almost 1.5 million TEU per year. If we add the statistics of Gdynia port to the statistics of the port in Gdansk (these ports are at a short distance from each other), it becomes obvious that this port complex is a leader in containerised cargo handling, with almost 2 million TEU and 56.9 million tonnes of cargo.

Recently, a decision has also been made to expand the port in Gdańsk by adding a complex of deep-water terminals that will handle an additional 100 million tonnes of cargo. Works within the new project are expected to start by 2020.

Large investments are also expected in Gdynia, where the construction of a new 2 million TEU container terminal is planned, as well as the deepening of the harbour channel and the approach track to the depth of 16 and 17 metres respectively. The Polish railway infrastructure company, PKP PLK, is also investing in the improvement of accessibility of terminals in Gdynia and Gdańsk, with an investment of 1.4 billion zloty to modernize 160 km of railway tracks.

The smallest Polish port complex, Szczecin-Świnoujście handled over 24 million tons of goods in 2016, in containers with a total capacity of 90,000 TEU. The depth of the port in Szczecin allows for receiving ships with a draught of up to 9.15 metres and a depth of 215 metres, whereas in the case of Świnoujście these parameters are 13.5 metres and 270 metres respectively. One of the key investments that will enable the port to be connected via inland waterways to other countries of the Visegrad Group is the development of the Oder river. A major challenge for all Polish ports will be to convince partners from other landlocked countries to use domestic terminals. Currently, both Hungary and Slovakia handle 60% of their cargo through the Slovenian port in Koper. In the case of the Czech Republic, this amounts to about 8-10%.