The Port of Gdańsk has welcomed the inaugural visit of the first Euro-China Train (ECT) as part of China’s modern-day silk road, the Belt and Road Initiative.
The new ECT connection, known as the Baltic train, is the result of co-operation between the Port of Gdańsk Authority, DCT Gdańsk container terminal, and Adampol, which is the operator and administrator of the route. Adampol reports there is growing interest in the new service, which slashes journey times from China to Gdańsk from 40–45 days via sea to 10–12 days via rail. It says the Baltic train will also turbocharge delivery times for goods between China, the UK, and Scandinavia to 12–14 days via feeder services from Gdańsk, cutting journey times via the Port of Hamburg to the same destinations by 3–5 days.
Port of Gdańsk Authority Management Board president Lukasz Greinke heralded the train’s arrival from Xi’an in China as a historic moment for the port and for Poland, as Gdańsk seeks to cement its position as the gateway to the Baltic and the fastest growing port in Europe. He said introducing the ECT connection to Gdańsk would unleash trading opportunities between China and Poland and also Scandinavia and the UK via the feeder shipping services operating from Gdańsk.
The ECT-Gdańsk rail link will be managed by Polish transport and logistics company Adampol, which operates a transshipment hub for up to 19 trains a day from China at its terminal in Małaszewicze on the Polish-Belarusian border accommodating trains from Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hefei, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, and Harbin. Presently, a train from the Adampol Terminal in Małaszewicze can take three to five days to reach the Port of Hamburg while the journey to Gdańsk takes between one and two days.
Elena Lukanowa, CEO of Adampol, said, “Adampol has already had many years of experience in handling trains from China at its terminal on the Polish-Belarusian border. The connection between Adampol Małaszewicze land terminal and DCT Gdańsk terminal opens up new possibilities of transport routes, which will be competitive to existing routes, such as China to Hamburg and Duisburg linked to the UK or Scandinavia. These routes can be replaced and, as a result, accelerated up to five days. Alternative transport routes, which this new train connection creates, will further strengthen the position of the Port of Gdańsk in Europe.”
The Port of Gdańsk said as well as being in talks with Chinese customers, the partners are also speaking with British, Scandinavian, and Polish companies, including car makers and timber producers as well as shipping lines and freight forwarding companies who are keen to exploit the benefits the new Gdańsk Belt and Road rail connection.
Previously, ECT trains with cargo bound for Poland have travelled to Germany and Belgium only to send the cargo back to Poland or Belarus. The port said the new Baltic train reduces time with a faster and more efficient service.
The next Baltic train from China will arrive in Gdańsk in December with a regular weekly service planned from January 2020. The new connection will also be used to transport goods into Belarus, enabling DCT and the Port of Gdańsk to be the strategic port for Belarus. Adampol’s intermodal terminal in Małaszewicze is the only one in Poland capable of storing and transshipping cars. As a result, Adampol sees huge potential for the automotive sector with this rail link, as well as any type of goods suited to container transport.