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More than 37 million t of cargo at the Port of Gdansk

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Dry Bulk,

The past year was long heralded as a special one for the Port of Gdansk, both in terms of the predicted transshipments and the investments carried out here, as well as on account of the fact that Gdansk moved up in the ranking of the largest seaports on the Baltic Sea.

The Port can now say with certainty that the Polish port has reached a peak, taking sixth position in the Baltic Sea in terms of overall transshipment volumes for the first time.

2016 was also the fifth year in a row in which the Port of Gdansk consolidated second place in the Baltic basin in terms of container turnover. Initially, in 2012, when Gdansk came second in the ranking for the first time, there was still a gap of 1.6 million TEU between the Polish port and the Port of St. Petersburg, the largest container port in the basin. Meanwhile, in 2015, this disparity decreased to a level of 623 000 TEU, and last year, the difference was only 445 000 TEU.

The transshipments of coal are worthy of special attention, as they have exceeded the level of 5 million t (a 13% increase compared to 2015), a level unattainable in recent years. The last best result in this respect was recorded 12 years ago, when in 2005, nearly 7 million tonnes of coal were handled in Gdansk. Since then, the transshipments in this commodity group at the port were very uneven and fluctuated within the range from 1 million t in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2013.

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 t (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 t, and in 2015 - 3.4 million t). 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 t last year. Almost half a million tonnes of granulated sulfur and nearly 200 000 t 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 t handled.

2016 was also another successive year, in which the port recorded a large increase in ore turnover. A year earlier, about 85 000 t were handled, while in 2016, the volume of ore exceeded the level of 200 000 t 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 t 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. This is an increase in commercial vessel size of as much as 123% within a decade, and it can be expected that this will continue this year as well. What will the year which started just a few weeks ago bring? Will it be as successful as 2016? This is difficult to predict, but the forecasts for individual transshipment terminals and operators are relatively optimistic. The final summary, though, will have to wait another 12 months.

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