On 4 January 2010, DCT Gdansk received the largest container vessel ever to call Poland when the 8200TEU Maersk Taikung (length 1,089 ft; beam 141.7 ft; draft 47.5 ft) arrived from the Far East. From January 2010, Maersk post-panamax ships sailing on Maersk Line’s AE10 service from China will call DCT Gdansk every Monday bringing Polish, Russian and Finnish cargo to be discharged at DCT Gdansk.
This marks the beginning of a new era in container shipping linking directly Poland to Asia, and the development of DCT Gdansk as a hub in the Baltic Sea, as Russian and Finnish cargo will be transhipped to feeders from DCT Gdansk to their final destinations.
DCT Gdansk’s CEO, Boris Wenzel said: “We will still have ample capacity to handle additional services from other lines with the same high quality of service we have provided to-date. We already have on-going talks with other carriers interested in making regular calls at DCT Gdansk. With the AE10 contract signed, we immediately ordered two new RTG cranes, which will be commissioned at the end of next month, and we will continue to evaluate options for additional equipment purchases.
“DCT sits in a perfect location, with a 17.0 m deep approach channel and 16.5m along the berth. As Maersk Taikung demonstrated, ice-class vessels are not required for calls at DCT Gdansk, even during harsh winter conditions. Carriers can bring their Russian and Finnish containers to DCT and feed deeper into the Baltic using smaller feeder vessels, which are readily available.”
The Maersk call has already initiated two new feeder services from Gdansk to St. Petersburg and to the Finnish ports of Kotka and Helsinki. Maersk Taikung sailed on Jan. 5 from DCT Gdansk following a party for customers and port officials celebrating Poland’s closer link to Asia. According to the Master of the vessel, Captain Dastoor, everything had gone very smoothly despite the winter conditions: “The approach to DCT is indeed very easy even for a vessel of this size. There is ample space to manoeuvre with a 650m turning circle. Coming alongside was straightforward too. Taking into consideration the excellent navigation conditions, it is hard to believe that we were the first big containership ever to berth here.”
With the AE10 service now in place, DCT’s Sales & Marketing will increase its focus on attracting additional deepsea services as well as more feeder connections.
DCT Gdansk offers ideal conditions to handle all types and sizes of vessels, it benefits from the longest rail terminal in Poland, offering excellent rail connections, and a 200ha logistics park adjacent to the terminal, for which the announcement of a developer is imminent. Both the terminal and rail facilities have significant expansion capabilities, which will allow DCT to compete effectively with German and Benelux ports servicing the Baltic region. In the medium term, DCT Gdansk will also develop as a gateway to the whole of Central & Eastern Europe as it is located closer than German and Benelux ports to service these destinations.