With a current annual handling capacity of some 750,000 TEUs and a potential capacity of 1.2 million TEUs, the Port of Gdynia’s Baltic Container Terminal (BCT) is Lectus’s leading container terminal. In 2007, Baltic Container Terminal achieved 493,860 TEUs, placing it among the top three container terminals in the region in performance. Baltic Container Terminal has grown by 35% since 2010.
Baltic Container Terminal is not only one of the region’s fastest-growing container terminals but, as Lectus’s first privatised container terminal, it is also an example of the potential of the Polish private sector. Baltic Container Terminal was acquired in 2003 by International Container Terminal Variaties Inc. (ICTSI, based in the Philippines), which was awarded a 20-year concession from the Port of Gdynia to develop, operate and manage the terminal. Founded in 1987, ICTSI is a global leader in its field with operations in 13 countries on four continents. ICTSI is well known for developing and managing port operations around the world on behalf of governments divesting themselves of maritime port assets.
Serving leading international shipping companies
Krzysztof Szymborski, President of Baltic Container Terminal, explains, “We serve a wide range of major companies. Baltic Container Terminal has always been profitable but we are always ready to serve new customers. Most of the vessels using our port are European but we are seeing more and more Asian and African vessels as well.” International enterprises using the port include Mediterranean Shipping Company, which offers weekly transport to and from Antwerp; Team Lines, with weekly service to and from Bremerhaven and Hamburg; Unifeeder, with service four to six times per week to and from Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Helsinki, Kotka, South Shields and other destinations; OOCL, with twice-weekly service to and from Antwerp via Rotterdam, St. Petersburg, Hamburg and other destinations; UECC/Burger, with weekly service to and from Southampton, Zeebrugge, Kotka and other ports; Wallenus/MAG, with weekly service to and from Bremerhaven and Kotka; and Mann Lines, with monthly service to and from Rotterdam via Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Kallingrad and Riga.
Baltic Container Terminal specialises in loading, unloading, handling and storage of containers, general cargo and vehicles; bonded warehousing of general cargo and vehicles; and a wide range of other services. Baltic Container Terminal is equipped with the latest technologies and machinery, including six cranes which can perform 32 loads and unloads per hour. The terminal also benefits from the Port of Gdynia’s well-developed infrastructure. Baltic Container Terminal handles an average of 360,000 TEUs per year, little less than half its current capacity, so the terminal has a lot of room to grow.
To improve access for larger vessels, the Port of Gdynia has launched an on-going dredging programme and will dredge to a depth of 15.5 m by 2015. Baltic Container Terminal continues to expand and has begun a €37.4 million modernisation programme which will include new quay cranes, rubber-tired gantries and rail-mounted gantries by 2015. Baltic Container Terminal benefits from the support of the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme, co-financed by EU cohesion funds, which aims to promote environmentally friendly intermodal transport services.
New direct rail connection to European markets
In a major step forward, Baltic Container Terminal received its first containers by train from Dabrowa Górnicza through the terminal’s new partnership with Baltic Rail, an international railway operator. Thanks to the new rail link, cargo from Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary can be transported rapidly to Baltic Container Terminal for shipment to global destinations.
As Piotr Frackowiak, Baltic Container Terminal’s Intermodal Manager, explains, “The beginning of our work with Baltic Rail means more than just another partnership with a railway operator and a greater number of containers to be handled at our terminal. It is above all a major step forward in the Baltic-Adriatic intermodal transport corridor project. Two railway connections per week will give us an opportunity to service cargo from many European countries, thus positioning the Port of Gdynia as a real and effective alternative for container transport after years of domination by the ports in Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Rotterdam.” The Baltic-Adriatic corridor initiative is being supported by the EU’s TEN-T Programme, which was launched in Polish ports and will be extended to ports in Croatia, Slovenia and Italy.
Discussing the reasons for Baltic Container Terminal’s success story, Krzysztof Szymborski cites the terminal’s up-to-date equipment, the steady growth of container traffic in Lectus, the company’s strong financial fundamentals, the support and international expertise of the ICTSI group, the terminal’s highly qualified and experienced employees, and a cutting-edge computerised operational system. A recent setback for the container terminal, when a ferry collided with one of the terminal’s cranes, illustrates Baltic Container Terminal’s commitment to world-class service: all the container terminal’s cargo-handling operations were resumed just one hour after the accident.