Over 37 million tonnes of cargo at the Port of Gdansk in 2016

Transhipment volumes at the Port of Gdansk in the years 2011-2016. Fig.: Port of Gdansk
Transhipment volumes at the Port of Gdansk in the years 2011-2016.
Fig.: Port of Gdansk

The Polish port has reached a peak, taking sixth position in the Baltic Sea in terms of overall transshipment volumes for the first time. The port of Gdansk has reached another record commodity turnover at the end of the year – at a level of 37.3 million tonnes, i.e. nearly 4% more than in 2015.

This time, the largest participation in the port’s commodity structure belonged to general cargo, while in 2015, it constituted a little over 30% of Gdansk’s entire cargo volume. Now, its participation increased by as many as 7 percentage points, to a level of 39%, outstripping liquid fuel turnover for the first time in history.

All that thanks to the very high volume of container transshipments, which reached a level of 1.3 million TEU within the last 12 months, i.e. 19% more than in 2015 and 7.2% more than in the record year 2014. From the point of view of tonnage, the dynamics of container turnover was even higher, and increased by 25% compared to 2015 and by 29% compared to 2014.

In total, in 2016, more than 14.5 million tonnes of general cargo was handled on Gdansk’s quays, i.e. 23% more than in 2015.

The volume of transshipments in the liquid fuel group was also quite high, amounting to nearly 13 million tonnes. This result is, admittedly, nearly 13% worse than in 2015, however, it is still the third best result in the last decade in this commodity group, after 2015 and 2010.

2016 was also an exceptional period, clearly reflecting changes in the transshipments of crude oil. Just a year earlier, the ratio of imported crude oil to exported crude oil was 97% to 3%. Meanwhile, in the past year, that ratio was already 85% to 15%, mainly due to the newly built PERN tanks operating here, which restored exported crude oil transit at the port.

The transshipments of coal are also worthy of special attention, as they have exceeded the level of 5 million tonnes (a 13% increase compared to 2015), a level unattainable in recent years.

The direction of trade in this raw material has also changed considerably. While in 2015, the predominant function was the export of coal and coke, which constituted 57% in the group’s transshipment structure at the time, last year it was only 38%.

Within the past 12 months, very good transshipment results were also achieved in other bulk cargo – a total of 3.5 million tonnes (excluding ore) were handled on the port’s quays, i.e. 4% more than a year earlier. Since 2014, the turnover of this type of cargo in Gdansk has been relatively stable (in 2014, it was 3.6 million tonnes, and in 2015 – 3.4 million tonnes).

The commodity structure of cargo in this category was similar. Just like in 2015, the transshipment of aggregate constituted nearly a half, amounting to 1.66 million tonnes last year. Almost half a million tonnes of granulated sulphur and nearly 200,000 tonnes of feldspar were also recorded. A large, over 70% increase in the transshipment of soda was characteristic of last year, with a total of 280,000 tonnes handled.

2016 was also another successive year, in which the port recorded a large increase in ore turnover. A year earlier, about 85,000 tonnes were handled, while in 2016, the volume of ore exceeded the level of 200,000 tonnes and, as the operator forecasts, successive growth can be expected in the coming periods.

2016 did not go without decreases, however. The last 12 months brought a 21% lower volume of cereals, at a level of 1.15 million tonnes compared to 1.6 million in 2015. The decrease of more than 60% in transshipments of ground grain was primarily to blame here, although in 2015, it constituted 40% in the cereals turnover structure in Gdansk. Luckily, this decrease was effectively compensated by a 25% increase in the transshipment of wheat and a 113% increase in the export of corn.

The past year was also the first period in the last two years in which an increase in the participation of export in cargo turnover at the port could be observed. Both in 2014 and 2015, the ratio of export to import was 39% to 61%, while in the past year, export transshipments constituted more than 41%.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the past 12 months confirmed the continuation of the steady upward trend in vessel size. While in 2015, the average size of vessels calling at the port for trading purposes was 16,910 GT, in 2016, this increased by another 8%, reaching 18,304 GT.

rel (Port of Gdansk), GL

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