New container terminal can receive mega-sized container ships.

Entrance to the Port of Gdansk

Baltic Hub, formerly called DCT Gdansk, the operator of the largest container terminal in the Port of Gdansk, is building a third deep-water Terminal (T3), aimed at strengthening the port’s position as a Baltic container hub.

Indeed, the Baltic Hub Container Terminal is Poland’s largest and fastest growing container facility, and the only deep-water terminal in the region, with ocean vessels from the Far East calling here.

The port operator says that when the terminal is fully completed in the second quarter of 2025, it will have a 717-meter long and about 17.5 meter deep quay wall, enhancing its capacity to handle the world’s largest container vessels, and also adding some 365,000 sq. m. of operating space.

The importance of the investment of Euro 450 million ($467 million) in T3 project, was underscored by Lukasz Greinke, the president of the Port of Gdansk, who described it as “another milestone”. The project will be carried out by a consortium of Budimex and DEME and is scheduled to be completed in two phases: the T3 project will open for commercial operations on completion in first half of 2024, becoming the Baltic region’s largest container hub serving Central and Eastern Europe, and increasing the handling capacity by 1.5 million TEUs to 4.5 million TEUs a year.

The second phase, expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2025, will concentrate on the construction of a 717 meter long, 17.5 meter deep quay wall. According to Baltic Hub sources, the T3 project includes the purchase of seven quay cranes to handle the world’s largest ships, and also the 20 semi-automated Rail Mounted Gantry cranes for the container yard. Baltic Hub handles over 600 ships annually, including 100 of the world’s largest container ships.

Environmental Standards

Charles Baker, Baltic Hub’s CEO, recently emphasized that Baltic Hub and its partners would carry out the T3 project with the highest environmental standards right from the planning stage. “Baltic Hub is a true 21st century terminal, and the T3 development will bring the latest low-carbon technology which any European port would be proud of,” he pointed out. Baker notes that a significant change will be the deployment of semi-automatic gantry cranes, which will not have any operators but will be controlled remotely from the company’s office building.

The shipping world has shown interest in its container terminal. In its earlier years, the terminal specialized in servicing feeder ships; since January 2010, container vessels with 8,000 TEU capacity from the Far East called at Gdansk every week. Direct connections with Asia accelerated the development of the Deepwater Container Terminal, one of the fastest growing terminals in the world. In 2011, the terminal started servicing container vessels with a capacity of 15,500 TEU, and in 2013 vessels with a capacity of 18,000 TEU belonging to Maersk Line.

Meanwhile, Baltic Hub is the only facility in the Baltic Sea that can handle container vessels carrying over 24,000 TEUs. It is expanding its connections with the Far East through Maersk Line and Ocean Alliance, besides providing feeder connections with European destinations.

Grain Traffic Rising at Port of Gdansk

Meanwhile, the port operators, keen to expand their handling capacity for agricultural products, plan to increase the grain-handling capacity to 3 million tonnes, up from this year’s forecast of 2.5 million tonnes.

Besides handling coal and liquid fuels, the Port of Gdansk sees grain, including Polish and Ukrainian varieties, as a priority cargo group. In 2022 the port handled more than 1.9 million tonnes of grain. Since early 2023, operators have already handled over 764,000 tonnes of grain (meal, corn, wheat, rye, fava bean, rapeseed, oilseeds, etc.) shipped, mainly, to Denmark, the Netherlands, the U.K., Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Belgium. Since early 2023, the port has handled 115 ships taking grain and three ships arriving with grain. Indeed, since early 2023 until April, some 13,280 grain trucks had unloaded and five loaded at the Port of Gdansk.

Around 70% of the grain transported to the port in the future will be done by trucks and then by ships, making the Port of Gdansk Authority (PGA) provide additional parking spaces and parking lots for trucks to help avoid traffic congestion on public roads.

Polferries vessel docked at the Port of Gdansk

Growing Business Relations with South Korea

Foreign shippers recognize the Port of Gdansk’s importance as a channel to penetrate the Baltic region. South Korean companies for example, have eyed the port as a strategic point to forge closer business ties with the region; the PGA even organized an international “Business Mixer 2023” conference a couple of months back in South Korea.

South Korea, the second biggest foreign investor in Poland after the USA, has a strong corporate presence with some 550 companies maintaining business ties in Poland and a combined investment of 3.06 billion Euro.

“For Asia, we are a marine gateway to the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the most dynamic region in the European Union. It is an ideal market of some 100 million consumers as well as an important production and distribution point for distribution of high-quality products to markets around the world,” explains a PGA official.

The port invited Polish companies engaged in areas such as energy, logistics, chemical and automotive industries to participate in the “Business Mixer” event. Polish and South Korean business representatives held discussions on shipping and logistics, port infrastructure, warehousing, handling of specialized goods, etc., besides examining routes connecting Europe and Asia using Poland and South Korea as logistics hubs.

Port of Gdansk’s Future Outlook

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Port of Gdansk has embarked on an expansion course to accommodate the forecast of 50% capacity increase by 2025.

The deep-sea port, located in the easternmost region of Europe, is already receiving mega container vessels with a 24,000 TEU capacity. Current investments are aimed to strengthen the Asia-Europe shipping traffic. The new terminal is being designed to handle consumer goods, machinery, and electronics, according to a review by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. An advantage that Gdansk will provide is the short transport routes to the entire Baltic region – from Finland to Lapland. The port is also being projected to become a hub for railway transportation from the Black Sea region and further south – from countries such as the Czech Republic to Ukraine. The EBRD notes that traffic presently is poised to grow, and the two existing terminals are working to capacity.