The adoption of the Act of 23 September 1922 on the construction of the port of Gdynia by the Polish Parliament is considered the formal beginning of the port of Gdynia. The works on its establishment, however, commenced much earlier. The favourable international situation, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and the restoration of Poland’s access to the sea constituted an incentive for the Polish government to take action.
The needs of the Polish trade were to be secured by the Free City of Gdańsk (Wolne Miasto Gdańsk), which was located within the customs area of Poland. The Republic of Poland was granted many rights and privileges related to the use of the commercial port.
In 1920 there was a conflict regarding the blocking of trans-shipment of arms to Poland during the war with Russia, calling Polish warships at port, etc. The need to build the own sea port became apparent. In 1920, the Vice Admiral Kazimierz Porębski, head of the Department of Maritime Affairs at the Ministry of Military Affairs, appointed Mr Wenda, the engineer to choose the place to build a future port.
Mr Wenda not only presented a proposal of the port location, but he also designed it and was appointed the construction manager of the port.
According to Tadeusz Wenda – the builder and the designer of the port of Gdynia, the cost of construction of the port has not exceeded PLN 300 million. The port buildings cost about PLN 165 million, and port facilities – about PLN 135 million (the share of private capital amounted to PLN 45 million).
In the thirties, the port of Gdynia began to compete with other ports of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Large hinterland and favourable investment conditions brought success in the global market.
The port industry is developing within the port, including the Union Fat Processing Plant, Rice Mill, Shipyard and other facilities. The city of Gdynia developed alongside the port – it was granted the civic rights in 1926 and in 1939 its population amounted to 125 thousand people.
The day before the outbreak of the World War II, the Port of Gdynia was a modern and fully equipped port with a depth of 4 to 12 m, with an area of 897 ha including 224 ha of water area, and the port railway network of 240 km, with 57 warehouses and 93 port facilities. The port of Gdynia, however, is not just a place of transhipment. In 1931 the Gdynia Ferry Terminal was erected – a place where immigrants heading to South America were checked-in.
The development of Gdynia had influenced not only the development of maritime economy, but the whole reorientation of the Polish economy – as much as 80 % of Polish export and 65 % of import were realized by sea until 1938. Gdynia had become and is still our window on the world.
Seizure of Gdynia by the Germans on 14September 1939 brought an end to the development of the port.
During the World War II, Gdynia (named Gottenhafen by the invader) was the base for the German Navy – Kriegsmarine and one of the most important centres of the armaments industry and thus became the target of allied forces air rides. 40% of the hydro-technical structures and 25 % of storehouses were completely destroyed. 75 % of the storehouses and 54% of quays and breakwaters required repairs. Over 30% of handling facilities were taken away to the ports in Germany. The ones left were destroyed in 30 %. Viaducts on land were blown up, blocking access to the port.
Two institutions were established in order to restore the port to life: Główny Urząd Morski – GUM (Central Maritime Office) and Biuro Odbudowy Portów – BOP (Office for Reconstruction of Ports). The commissioning of the Beniowski Quay in 1964 ended the process of removal of war damage in the port of Gdynia. The port of Gdynia reached the pre-war volume of transhipments as late as in 1965. The handling of containers started to be organized at the end of 60’s – it was the main issue. The first step was the establishment of temporary container base at the Polish Quay put into operation in 1972. The construction of the container terminal at the Hel Quay started four years later and was completed in 1979. The first ship to call at the port was the ro-ro vessel the “Baltic Eagle”.
The event that initiated the transition process of Port of Gdynia was the transformation of the state owned enterprise Morski Port Handlowy Gdynia (Commercial Sea Port of Gdynia) into the joint stock company wholly owned by the State Treasury under the name of Morski Port Handlowy Gdynia S.A. (Commercial Sea Port of Gdynia S.A.). Commercialization took place on 19.11.1991 under the Law on Privatization of the State Owned Enterprises.
The new structure was created in 1996 – Port Gdynia Holding S.A.
When deciding on the restructuring of the Port of Gdynia, according to the draft of the Act on Sea Ports and Harbours, it was assumed that the operational and auxiliary functions will be separated from the management functions in the process of change by establishment of separate companies that would focus solely on operational activities.
The Port of Gdynia Authority S.A. was established on 30.11.1999 under the Act on sea ports and harbours; its main task is the administration of the port infrastructure. In the year 2000, the Port of Gdynia Authority S.A. incorporated the Port of Gdynia Holding S.A.
ul. Rotterdamska 9, 81-337 Gdynia
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