During the Maritime Economy Forum in Gdynia, Poland, which took place in early October, Adam Meller, the Port of Gdynia Authority managing board president, laid out the biggest infrastructure programme ever seen at the port, with environmental considerations and green energy at its heart.
He said the plans include an investment in dredging the port so it can accommodate larger vessels, as well as reconstructing 1,501 metres of wharfs. But he cautioned that as a city centre-based port, air quality was paramount and the port would adhere to all emissions restrictions, meaning visiting vessels must meet “the lowest possible levels of emissions”. He further announced a complete replacement of the railway system at the port with renewable alternatives being examined, such as hydrogen-powered trains. Meller confirmed that work on the port’s new EUR67 million passenger ferry terminal – which is the part of the motorway connecting Sweden and Poland – has now officially started and will massively improve passenger efficiency.
As part of the expansion, the port’s turning basin will be dredged to 16 m – together with the wharf extension, the port’s transshipment potential will be increased by 4.7 million tonnes and 400 thousand TEU. The investments will see dredging the approach waterway and internal reservoirs of the Gdynia port during stage I and II and reconstructing the wharfs in the port during stage II and III. The entire venture is valued at more than PLN556.94 million, 273 million of which is EU subsidies.
Investments in dredging the approach fairways and internal basins of the Gdynia port and wharf reconstruction mainly serve to increase the competitiveness in the Baltic Sea region and along the Baltic-Adriatic corridor within the TEN-T network. The project has been divided into two tasks. The first one, during stage I, covers the reconstruction of turning basin no. 2 in Basin IX to a diameter of 480 m – from 400 m – demolition of shipyard piers and relocation of the floating dock of PGZ Stocznia Wojenna.
After all, works connected with preparing the turning basin began in September 2017, and construction was completed in January 2019. Currently, a procedure to obtain permissions necessary to use it is under way. The turning basin was already used by container ships calling at Gdansk port since the beginning of this year, including the 347 m Charlotte Maersk with a capacity of 9,640 TEU and the 331 m-, 10,600 TEU-Cap San Juan.
In general, the investment is to ensure that the port can service vessels that are 400 m in length, 58 m in width, and have a draught of 15 m. That is also to be enabled by stage III of this task, i.e. the dredging of the port basins from the current 13.5 m to 16 m and widening the Pilot Entryway (Wejście Pilotowe) from the current 100 m to 140 m, and reconstruction of the Northern Groin (Ostroga Północna).
It will also be necessary to secure the structure of the wharfs along the port canal, including the Słowacki Wharf, the Włoskie Wharf, and the Norweskie Wharf. At the same time, the Maritime Authority in Gdynia will perform works on the port access fairway constituting stage II of this endeavour.
Task two, meanwhile, as part of stages II and III, includes a reconstruction of the Indyjskie Wharf along a section of 550 m, including dredging to 15.5 m, and the Helskie Wharf along a section of 965 m, including dredging to 15.5 m. It will also be equipped with crane tracks 30 m in width. During the works, the wharfs will also be equipped with environmentally friendly solutions, e.g. ship sewage collection installations and a system to power the vessels from the land.
Stage I of this part of the project, concerning the modernisation of the Rumuńskie Wharf, has already been completed in the previous EU financial perspective. All the tasks planned currently need to be performed by the end of 2022, so that the project could be settled in 2023.
In addition, the construction of a public ferry terminal is one of the largest investments in the Port of Gdynia. Grzegorz Dyrmo, vice president of the Port of Gdynia, said that the total cost of building the terminal is about PLN290 million. The net cost is about PLN235 million, of which about PLN117 million came from the EU funding. Covering an area of seven hectares, it will build a waterfront capable of receiving ferries up to 240 m, a terminal building with an area of more than 5000 m2, a warehouse building with an area of about 900 m2, parking for passengers and terminal employees with over 200 spaces, a manoeuvring area of over six hectares, and a two-level loading ramp.