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The advantage of Świnoujście is its location in the Baltic Sea

Marek Tarczyński, PIFFA Council President: The advantage of Świnoujście is its location in the Baltic Sea

Attracting of liner ocean-going container services to Świnoujście is an vital opportunity for development of this port, of which the current volume structure is basically bulk – says Marek Tarczyński, President of the Council of the Polish International Freight Forwarders Association.

- How do you weigh up the project for the development of a deep-water container terminal in Świnoujście from a business point of view?

- The determination of the Management Board of Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority on the development of a deep-water container terminal in Świnoujście is understandable and justified. The presence of the most modern and dynamically developing container shipping is negligeable here, as previous attempts to start a container terminal in Świnoujście have backfired due to their provisional nature, and the tiny terminal in Szczecin has no chance of development due to the depth of the fairway.

Attracting liner sea-going container services to Świnoujście is an important opportunity for the development of this port, of which the current cargo type structure is typically bulk. Meanwhile, Gdynia, where Polish containerization began in the 1960’s, is trying to get out of the trap of being container feeder port, on one hand improving access to existing terminals and, on the other hand, implementing the concept of construction of an external port. The port of Gdańsk – planning to build more container quays goes with the flow of the leader, exploiting favorable navigation conditions.

- The strengths and threats of this project?

- The advantage of Świnoujście is its location in the Baltic Sea, reducing the cost of ocean mainline vessel’s call compared to the ports of the east coast. The weak side is more difficult access to the industrialized part of our interior, and probably a large qualitative and mental barrier to enter the German or Czech market, to which Świnoujście is naturally connected.

The location of Świnoujście will prefer intermodal transport, which forces much higher quality requirements on the railway operator, by far comfortable rather with the transport of bulk cargo by "Nadodrzanka" rail line, while intermodal transport requires delivery fast and on time. There is also a possibility of protests of the industrialisation reluctant group of inhabitants, although the pandemic teaches that placing the future in the development of tourism only can be dangerous.

- Your opinion about the container potential of the Baltic Sea?

- Opponents of increasing of the potential of Świnoujście or Gdynia raise the threat of so-called cannibalization, that is devastating competition between terminals. On the contrary, from a forwarding and logistical point of view, or more broadly in order to meet our foreign trade and transit needs, this is an opportunity for the sustainable development of port services. In terms of both spatial organization, quality of service, price rationalization, or simply understanding of the expectations of the shippers and shipping market. The current degree of containerisation of our transport is still so low, that the convergence mechanism observed since our entry into the EU, resulting at a rate of containerisation growth exceeding the rate of GDP growth, will secure the supply of containers to all our terminals.

- Can polish ports dominate container market in the Baltic Sea basin?

- I would like to reassure our Baltic neighbours that they are not threatened by our container domination. The potential of ports is a outcome of the level of economic development and its openness to international trade. In our case, it is strengthened by a convenient location, advantageous for the development of the so-called transit transshipment services. Most countries treat ports as objects of strategic importance for the national economy, and the Baltic sea is the intersection of lines of various interests. The planned investments will undoubtedly strengthen our position as a major transshipment country and secure the interests of our foreign trade, because we shall have not only one, but a few windows to the world. (pj)