Double-Digit Growth At Gdansk To Continue

Total tonnage volumes and container throughput at Poland's largest port, Gdansk, continue to increase rapidly, with double-digit growth in 2013 (+12.5%). The pace eased in the second half and went into reverse over January-February 2014 (-6.0%), but despite this short-term reversion (due mainly to a drop in liquid fuels and coal volumes) we remain optimistic for the year as a whole. The port has managed to register impressive growth despite the tough macroeconomic climate. Expansion projects, due to come to fruition in the medium term, could lead to further upward revisions in the next few years.

We are maintaining our forecast for continued double-digit growth in 2014, albeit at the slower rate of 10.9%. As far as container handling is concerned we now estimate 2013 box growth at a vigorous 26.8%, which took the full-year total to 1.177mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). For 2014, we predict 17.6% growth in container traffic to 1.384mn TEUs.

BMI highlights that throughput growth at the port is outperforming despite the tough macroeconomic climate facing the shipping sector. However, Poland's economy is now beginning to recover, with GDP growth of 2.8% in 2014, and double-digit expansion of foreign trade.

The main driver of throughput growth at the port of Gdansk in H1 2013 was coal shipments. Coal throughput accounted for 19.1% of the facility's total and grew 319.2% year-on-year (y-o-y). The second largest increase in cargo volumes at the port in H1 2013 was liquid fuel, up 45.9% and accounting for 31.4% of the total throughput handled. Although throughput of both these commodities fell in early 2014, we expect them to pick up again.

Commodities Driving Growth
Port Of Gdansk's Throughput By Segment (LHC: % Of Total Throughput; RHC: % change y-o-y), H1 2013

Over the medium term (2014-2018), we project total tonnage throughput to expand by an annual average of 8.7% to reach 45.947mn tonnes in 2018. BMI highlights that expansion plans offer upside risk to this forecast.

In April 2013, the port signed a contract with PERN for the construction of a crude oil terminal. The terminal will boast 20 storage tanks for crude oil and petroleum products, as well as supply chain infrastructure, such as pipelines and railways. The project will boost liquid fuel throughput at the port and will likely increase its role at the facility.

Strong Bulk Growth At Gdansk, Slightly Slower Pace
Port Of Gdansk Throughput, Tonnes '000 & % change y-o-y.

In May 2013, the port signed a lease agreement with Noba Poland Real Estate, a subsidiary of the Dutch firm Noba. Noba will build 10 storage tanks, with a capacity of 11,500 tonnes, for fat products. The project, which is set to open in 2014/2015, highlights Gdansk's growing role as an entry point for goods into Europe. Noba is a supplier of fats for animal feed industries, serving Western Europe.

Also in May 2013, OT Logistics won the bidding to lease 23.5 hectares of land at the port. The company will build a deepwater terminal to handle coal, steel, fertilisers and products associated with the agricultural sector.

BMI also highlights that there is a bright outlook for containers at the port of Gdansk. Since the launch of DCT in 2007, Gdansk has steadily increased its role in the global container shipping sector, gaining Maersk Line as a client, becoming the first Baltic Sea port to be a direct call on an Asia-Europe container service, and handling the then-largest box ships afloat, Maersk Line's E-Type with a capacity of 15,500TEUs. The port has further cemented its role in the global supply chain with confirmation from Maersk Line that it will be using its new mega vessels, with a capacity of 18,000TEUs, on its AE-10 service and that these vessels will be pulling into the port of Gdansk.

After Capacity Boost, Box Growth Eases At Gdansk
Port Of Gdansk Container Throughput, TEUs & % Change y-o-y

The first of Maersk Line's 18,000TEU fleet was launched in mid-2013. We believe the entry of the 18,000TEU ships will offer upside risk to our medium-term container throughput forecasts for Gdansk. We currently project box volumes at the facility to expand by an average of 12.3% a year to reach 2.152mn TEUs in 2018.

There is some risk to the upside. In order to retain its newly acquired global box role, Gdansk is already planning to expand its container operations. In April 2013, DCT Gdansk signed a lease agreement for 27 hectares of land from the Port of Gdansk Authority. The land is to be used for the development of a second container terminal, the DCT2. According to current plans, the new container terminal will boast a 16m draught and a 600m quay. DCT2 will have seven Super-Post Panamax gantry cranes, enabling it to cater specifically for Maersk Line's 18,000TEU vessels. DCT2's annual container capacity is estimated at 2.5mn, which, with DCT, would bring Gdansk's total container capacity to 4mn. DCT2 is to become fully operational in 2016.

This article is tagged to:
Sector: Freight Transport, Shipping
Geography: Poland

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