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The latest stage in the privatisation of the Polish port of Gdansk appears to be reaching a conclusion after Maltese terminal operator Mariner revealed that it has entered exclusive negotiations with the port authority to take control of its Port Gdansk Logistics unit.
The port announced the sale of the multipurpose terminal operation almost a year ago, and Mariner beat off five rival applicants to emerge as the preferred bidder at the end of December, and has now completed negotiations with dockworker unions.
On completion of final negotiations with Gdansk’s board of directors, it will “undertake comprehensive investments in new cargo handling plant and other terminal facilities” at the site, which covers some 90ha and handles containers, cars and bulk cargo.
Mariner chief executive and owner Marin Hili said: “We are very confident that we can grow the business to everyone’s benefit and we are ready to invest to achieve this. We have a detailed business plan and we are ready to roll this out as soon as we get the green light from the Polish authorities.”
Mr Hili was chairman of Malta Freeport and oversaw its privatisation a decade ago, and subsequently launched his own port investment company. Mariner won the concession to operate the Riga Container Terminal in Latvia, where a major expansion programme is under way with the installation of new equipment and construction of new warehouse capacity.
It is also a 50% partner in Venice’s Terminal Intermodale Venezia with Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), and recently completed “an extensive modernisation programme which has included terminal reorganisation, cargo handling equipment acquisition and implementation of modern working practices following union negotiations”, according to the company.
In May 2013, Mariner was selected as the preferred operator for the development of a new container terminal at the Scottish port of Rosyth, the Rosyth International Container Terminal (RICT), located in Port Babcock Rosyth and close to Edinburgh. Environmental scoping work is currently under way on the project.
In Gdansk however, box traffic is likely to remain firmly concentrated at the DCT Gdansk container terminal, which today began construction of a new 650-metre berth. Due to completed in 2016, the facility will increase DCT’s annual handling capacity up to 3m teu, and follows the company securing a €290m loan for the project in November.
The creation of a deepwater facility in the Baltic proved to be shrewd move by its investor, Australia’s Macquarie Bank, and it now hosts a weekly call on the Maersk/MSC AE10/Silk service that deploys Maersk’s 18,340 teu Triple-E vessels.
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