A strong port is a strong and secure state,” said Łukasz Greinke, CEO of the Port of Gdansk, at the XXXI Economic Forum in Karpacz. The event featured more than 300 debates involving politicians, business representatives and representatives of culture and science.
“Europe facing new challenges” was the motto of the XXXI Economic Forum in Karpacz, the largest and most important political and economic conference in Central and Eastern Europe. The Port of Gdansk Authority was strongly represented there. President Lukasz Greinke and Vice President Slawomir Michalewski discussed the strategic role of seaports, the future of Europe’s trade routes, and the energy security of Poland and Europe in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
– Port infrastructure needs a power reserve in order for the logistics chain to operate efficiently. Investments in seaports should be made to the point where port infrastructure can be used at any time for transshipments ensuring Poland’s energy, food or military security,” said Łukasz Greinke, president of the Port of Gdansk, during the first day of the Forum.
According to the president, seaports, through which more than 30 per cent of goods pass, play an important role in the functioning of every country, and crises are a test for the efficiency of port infrastructure. The war in Ukraine made the Port of Gdansk the main port for exporting Ukrainian grain, raw materials and steel products, as well as the main transshipment point for Ukrainian military equipment reaching Gdansk by sea.
– This situation has shown very clearly what happens to an economy that ceases to be able to export or import its goods by sea,” he concluded.
Paweł Nowak, CEO of Port Gdański Eksploatacja, who was present at the forum, added that in 2022 the Port of Gdańsk became the largest exporter of products from Ukraine.
– The increase in volumes is both a greater financial investment and a logistical puzzle. Investments have made us able to handle these cargoes, he added.
In the panel ‘Transport reinvented. What is the future of Europe’s trade routes’ was attended by Slawomir Michalewski, vice-president of the Port of Gdansk. He stressed that Poland’s rail and port infrastructure is currently being put to the test.
– We must bear in mind that there is a brutal war going on behind our eastern border. We do not know when it will end. In the Port of Gdansk, we have prepared for this in some way by implementing a very large modernisation project involving, among other things, the rebuilding of quays, deepening the waterway, building new roads and tracks. As a result, we are able to carry out new tasks that no one expected. In addition, if it were not for the huge investment at the back of the port completed by PKP PLK, such as the Northern Port station with its 26 tracks, we would not be able to export coal, which comes to Poland by ship in huge quantities,’ said Deputy President Michalewski.
In recent months, the handling of coal and over 40 per cent of crude oil has increased in Gdansk by more than 60 per cent. Exports through the port include steel and grain (including around 1 million Ukrainian agricultural produce).