An interview with Adam Meller, President of PoGA S.A in “Dziennik Bałtycki” (Baltic Daily)
How was 2018 at the Port of Gdynia?
Cargo handlings at the Port of Gdynia are dynamically increasing and we are going to have a record number of 23 million tons. This reflects the dynamics in cargo handling increase in the market and good condition of the Polish economy. For another year in a row the Port of Gdynia observes a spectacular growth, which proves that development strategy adopted by the Port of Gdynia Authority is the right path and investment/modernization projects carried out by us are visible not only in costs we have incurred but mainly in our profits - as a company and entire national economy. However, to maintain this systematic growth we need an efficient railway and road infrastructure, as well as integration of the port with the hinterland.
At present there are many important investments in progress, related directly to the issue of the port accessibility.
Our activities focus on implementation of EU transportation policy guidelines that assume handling more than 35 % of cargo handlings by rail to 2030. I will just remind that the Port of Gdynia is the entry port of the Baltic-Adriatic transportation corridor, one of the key corridors in the entire European Union. Thus provision of an effective rail access to our port is not only necessary for its development, but is also one of Poland’s commitments resulting from EU transportation regulations. Speaking of port investments plans one cannot forget about tasks related strictly to railway, such as modernization and electrification of the rail system in the western part of the Port of Gdynia, and the modernization of rail - road surface at the Indian Quay that will be soon carried out. We are very happy that PKP Polish National Railways will take care of the Gdynia Port station modernization within the project called “Improvement of railway access to the sea port in Gdynia”, which is a strategic investment for our company. I also hope that in the near future works regarding railway no. 201 will start - a line that is a part of the UE Rail Freight Corridor 5 and, providing access to the port, is considered by the European Commission as an important element of the Baltic-Adriatic corridor. The planned electrification and additional third railway line will improve its capacity. This in turn will help us reconcile the great traffic of city trains from Gdynia Główna to Gdańsk Osowa and regional traffic with freight traffic. As a result the trains will go faster and more efficiently. It will be possible to operate a larger number of passenger and freight trains.
Railways are one of the two elements of the transportation system that connects the port with hinterland. The second one is road transport. Can we look equally optimistically into the future when it comes to road transport?
Today the road transport concentrates practically on the Kwiatkowski Route. The overpass is not in the best technical condition and has to be renovated every now and then, which limits its capacity significantly. Secondly, this route is used by inhabitants of the northern districts of Gdynia, which grew greatly in the past few years. Traffic jams and bottlenecks are practically ubiquitous on it. The best solution for the port is the construction of the Red Road, an alternative to the Kwiatkowski Route. Furthermore, the Red Road could connect areas of the future Logistic Valley and the planned new containers depots, container handling and central parking lot, as well as the intermodal terminal.
What will be the impact of the investments you mentioned on the development plans of the Port of Gdynia?
It has to be underlined that the construction of the Red Road as well as the railway investments of PKP PLK and the Port of Gdynia Authority condition the success of the External Port construction plans at the Port of Gdynia. The idea of the External Port is taking shape in reality and this largest investment in port’s modern history is to increase its cargo handling capacity and – in effect – further strengthen the Port of Gdynia’s competitive position in the Baltic Sea region. The central part of the External Port will be a container terminal with the cargo handling capacity of two million TEU – in the first stage. The project also includes an area reserve for subsequent 0.5 million TEU. The External Port will have a 2500-meter-long and 700-meter-wide quay. It is assumed that container ships up to 30 thousand TEU could be handled there. The concept of the External Port in Gdynia also assumes other functions, i.e. a universal terminal, LNG and an increase of the liquid fuel handling capacity. To sum up – we have to keep investing and create a port infrastructure that will meet ship owners’ and particular terminals’ needs. We are to create conditions supporting business development and as the Port of Gdynia Authority S.A. we try do it efficiently.
2019 will be a year of…
First of all, it will be a year of port investments resulting from development vision and strategy that are to strengthen the position of the Port of Gdynia as one of the safest and most innovative ports in the Baltic Sea region. Thanks to our endeavours we meet the expectations of the most demanding and important ship owners, freight and terminal operators. I am convinced that with such a dedicated team as we have now at the port the objectives we have set ahead of us will be achieved and the dreams and wishes so frequently mentioned at the end of the year will come true.