photo: Kacper Kowalski / aeromedia.pl

Polish container hub DCT Gdansk has been given the green light for a third deepwater terminal.

It will reinforce its aspirations to attract ocean carriers and extend their traditional Le Havre-Hamburg range of North European port calls.

Port of Gdansk and DCT Gdansk confirmed that the lease for the new 1.5m teu capacity terminal, to be known as Baltic Hub 3 (BH3), has been awarded to the incumbent PSA-managed operator.

It already operates the T1 quay, since 2007, and the T2 quay, opened in 2016, with a total capacity of 3m teu.

The €450m ($532m) investment will include a 717-metre quay, with a depth alongside of 18m, and a container yard of 36 hectares. Construction will commence in the second quarter of next year, with the new facility expected to be operational by mid-2024.

The project also involves the purchase of seven ship-to-shore gantry cranes, able to handle the largest container vessels, and 20 semi-automated rail-mounted cranes for landside services.

According to a carrier contact, the increased capacity of 4.5m teu at DCT Gdansk will give the port “something to sell”.

He added: “I’m sure they will be looking for another alliance loop once the new quay becomes operational.”

Indeed, since the commissioning of T2 in 2016, throughput at DCT Gdansk has grown to around 2m teu, but has been virtually flat since 2018.

Poland’s deputy minister of infrastructure, Marek Grobarczyk, said the agreement to proceed with BH3 was “a perfect result of what hard work and efforts can bring”, adding that the complex amendments to maritime and land lease laws necessary for the project to move forward were “the result of nearly two years of intense teamwork”.

He added: “Today, the port of Gdansk can handle the largest containerships in the world. Thanks to the expansion of the DCT terminal, the port will maintain its leading position in the Baltic Sea.”

In January 2010, Maersk was the first carrier to include Gdansk as a direct call on an Asia-North Europe loop. East Europe MD Zsolt Katona said: “Since then, we have witnessed the strong growth of the terminal. With BH3, we are very happy to see DCT continuing to invest in future capabilities and actively addressing the supply chain bottlenecks.”

According to eeSea data, Maersk’s AE10 Asia-North Europe Loop serves Gdansk with 2M partner MSC on its Silk service, and deploys 13 ships of 18,270 teu to 20,568 teu on the route, with the alliance also selling slots to Hapag-Lloyd.

Charles Baker, newly-appointed CEO of DCT Gdansk, said the construction of a third quay would “mark a new era in container handling on the Baltic Sea”.

He said: “BH3 will greatly enhance our service offerings to our customers and is a significant boost to attracting new services or shipping alliances, as well as supporting the growth of Poland and surrounding economies.

“Historically, when we talked about major ports in the north range, it was always Hamburg-Le Havre. DCT Gdansk, growing rapidly, has extended that range to Gdansk, Poland and the Baltic,” he added.

DCT Gdansk is a joint-venture of PSA International which owns 40%, Polish Development Fund with a 30% stake and IFM Global Infrastructure Fund with 30%.

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