Springtime finds DCT Gdansk right on schedule
19-th April 2006
With the weather now improving in the Baltic, DCT Gdansk’s Technical Director Robin MacLeod reports that construction work is still on target to meet the planned opening date of May 2007. Despite severe conditions during the winter, dredging and land reclamation has continued and the first line of piles is already in place.
DCT Gdansk is building the first container terminal in the Baltic Sea that will be capable of berthing the largest vessels currently in service. Its first stage will see the construction of a 36 hectare terminal capable of handling 500,000TEU per annum. A roll-on, roll-off berth will add an extra 50,000 freight units to this capacity.
A 600m quay will be served initially by three post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes and five rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes. Liebherr is building both types of crane for the terminal and the first examples will arrive fully erected in Gdansk in early March 2007. The remaining cranes will arrive in large component form for erection on site. Commissioning, trials and driver training should be completed during May ready for the first ships to berth at the beginning of June. By July, all of the cranes should be operational and the entire 650m of quay should be completed by October.
DCT Gdansk will offer a depth alongside of 16.5m and the ship-to-shore cranes will have an outreach of 44m from the quay, sufficient to handle ships carrying containers 18-abreast on deck. The approaches to the Port of Gdansk also offer a minimum 16.5m depth thus accommodating 15m draft “Baltimax” vessels and the port remains effectively ice free all year round.
CEO Colin Chanter accepts that the largest ships are not likely to arrive in the Baltic in the near future but notes that deep sea carriers are already deploying 1000TEU-plus feeder vessels and some short sea regional carriers are also moving towards ships of this size.
As container volumes build in the Baltic, it will be just a matter of time before some of the big carriers decide that direct calls are viable. We expect to see ships of 3500TEU to 4000TEU berthed alongside by 2010, if not earlier. DCT Gdansk has been designed to serve not only the Polish domestic market with its population of almost 40 million and its hinterland, which is well served by road and rail, but also the many smaller Baltic ports, most of which are draft restricted and not ice-free. DCT Gdansk will become an important hub for the region.”
A second phase of development is planned when demand justifies it. This will bring the total capacity of the terminal to 1m TEU. Beyond this, there is potential for further growth, both of lo-lo and ro-ro capacity.