DCT Gdansk selects Liebherr to supply cranes

21 lipca 2006

060721

DCT Gdansk, the new deepwater container terminal under construction in Poland, has confirmed its placing of an order with Liebherr Cranes of Killarney in the Irish Republic for three post-Panamax ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and five rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes. All eight cranes will be built in Ireland and erected on site in Poland. The first cranes are due to arrive in February and be ready for driver training in March 2007. In keeping with DCT Gdansk’s intention to attract deep sea vessels to the Port of Gdansk, the STS cranes will be capable of handling ships carrying containers 19-across on deck. According to CEO Colin Chanter, they have been designed to load and unload vessels of 6000TEU and above:

„While we are not expecting to receive such large ships during the first few years of operation, other than in exceptional cases, we believe that the large number of post-Panamax ships being built means that they will eventually find their way into the Baltic Sea. When we open our doors for business in June 2007, we expect our first customers to be regional short sea and feeder operators employing ships of up to 1200TEU but the message we are sending out today is that when the major carriers decide to add a Baltic call to one of their many service strings, we will be ready.” Construction of the new terminal is running ahead of schedule with piling of the terminal boundaries, including the 650m quay face, completed and back-filling now in progress. When the terminal opens next June, it will be served by a channel 16.5m deep and because the Baltic is non-tidal, deep-drafted vessels will be able to berth at any time of the day or night.

With a population of 40 million and a fast-growing economy attracting inward investment, the Polish domestic market is expected to generate the largest proportion of DCT Gdansk’s business. The increasing cost of road transport means that trucking imports and exports through neighbouring countries such as Germany is not a long term option and the terminal operator predicts increasing demand for port facilities in Poland.

Other business is likely to come from transshipment traffic. Given its deepwater capability and ice-free status, Sutcliffe believes that DCT Gdansk will make an ideal hub port for the region:

„We know that the idea of using DCT Gdansk as a hub is attractive to regional carriers sailing from North-West Europe, the Benelux and the UK. We will offer 24/7 working, a facility that is not always available in Baltic ports, and therefore these lines will be able to use larger vessels and have the confidence that they will be turned round quickly. „We will be handling both European short sea carriers sailing on routes covering the Mediterranean, Iberia and UK/North Continental ports, and feeder operators transporting deep sea boxes between the major North Sea ports and the Baltic. In keeping with our intended hub status, smaller feeders will link DCT Gdansk with other Baltic ports that perhaps do not offer the same flexibility or are suffering from time to time with congestion.”

When it opens in June 2007, DCT Gdansk will be capable of handling around 250,000TEU per annum with its three STS cranes and five RTGs while a roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) berth will contribute another 160,000 units of capacity. When demand warrants it, extra cranes will be added to bring Phase 1 lift-on, lift-off (lo-lo) capacity up to 500,000TEU per annum. It will serve a hinterland of some 300 million people in Central and Eastern Europe via excellent road and rail links including the new A1 southbound motorway, now under construction.

Phase 2, still on the drawing board, would see DCT Gdansk’s capacity rise to 1 million TEU. According to the company, the timing of the decision to commence construction of this next phase will be determined by market demand.