Port Monitor Report - High growth in Polish ports in the first half of 2021

Polish ports results in first half of 2021

Polish ports ended the first half of 2021 with good results. In total, the ports handled 56 012 thousand tonnes of cargo. The level of throughput was 11.0% higher than in the first half of 2020 and comparable to that recorded in the first half of 2019. All three major Polish ports achieved growth at
a similar level in percentage terms, although the largest can be indicated in the Port of Gdynia (+11.8%). In the case of the Port of Gdynia and the Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście, the cargo volumes in the first half of this year were higher than in the corresponding period of 2019. Only the Port of Gdańsk handled 1.7 million tonnes less than in the first half of the year before the pandemic.

Most cargo groups show a rebound after the difficult 2020. In the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, turnover increased in almost every cargo group. Only the volumes of other bulk cargoes decreased (-2.7%). In this cargo group, a decline took place in each of the three main Polish ports.

In the first half of 2021, there was a slight recovery in coal turnover, which decreased significantly due to the pandemic last year (reduction of coal consumption in both industrial production and electricity sectors). Coal and coke turnover increased by 11.7% to the level of 5 025.2 thousand tonnes. Large growth was especially noticeable in Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście (+35.2%). The Port of Gdynia also recorded a significant increase (+18.0%). On the other hand, in Gdańsk, coal volumes slightly decreased (-0.4%). However, the total coal and coke turnover in Polish ports, despite the growths, remained at a level approximately 26% lower than in the first half of 2019.

In the past six months, a revival in the liquid fuels throughput can also be observed, which reflects the slowly recovering demand on the fuel market after a difficult 2020. The total volume of liquid fuels handled in Polish ports increased by 17.8% to the level of 11 878.1 thousand tonnes. However, this result was still 9.1% lower than in the first half of 2019. The highest percentage growth was recorded in the Port of Gdynia, +67.5%, where the turnover amounted to 1 334.2 thousand tonnes. In the largest Polish fuel port, the Port of Gdańsk, volumes increased by 18.7% to the level of 7 984.2 thousand tonnes. The turnover of this cargo at the Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście remained at a similar level as in the first half of the previous year.

In the case of ore, the first six months of this year brought an increase in turnover by 31.7% to the level of 1 004.8 thousand tonnes. This cargo group is handled mainly by the Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście, which in the last six months increased the turnover in this cargo group by 35.0%, while in Gdańsk there was a drop (-8.0%). The Port of Gdynia does not handle ore.

Throughput of timber in the first half of 2021 increased by 59.1% to 199.6 thousand tonnes. This cargo is handled mainly in two Polish ports - Gdynia and Szczecin-Świnoujście, which recorded growth by 66.4% and 49.6%, respectively.

The turnover of grain remained at a similar level as in the corresponding period of the previous year (+0.7%), which was extremely good in relation to this cargo group thanks to the above-average increase in Polish grain exports. Maintaining a good result of grain throughput by Polish ports was possible due to the increase in the Port of Gdansk, as volumes in Szczecin-Świnoujście remained at a similar level as last year, while the Port of Gdynia - the largest grain port in Poland, as well as in the Baltic Sea, lost 8.5% of volumes.

General cargo turnover increased by 11.6% to the level of 28 996.6 thousand tonnes. The largest growth among Polish ports was recorded by the Port of Gdynia, which handled 7 816.6 thousand tonnes of general cargo, 14.7% more than in the corresponding period of 2020 and 7.1% more than in the first half of 2019.

Containers

In the first half of 2021, Polish ports achieved very good results in terms of container turnover. The ports handled 11.5% (+162,000 TEU) more containers than in the corresponding period of 2020 and 4.1% more than in the first half of 2019. The Port of Gdańsk and the Port of Gdynia achieved a double-digit growth in container turnover, and the recorded volumes exceeded the results ​​obtained in the corresponding period of the year before the pandemic. In the Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście, throughput increased by 7.6% compared to the first half of 2020.

The largest increase was recorded by the Port of Gdynia (+14.5% compared to the first half of 2020). In February, the Baltic Container Terminal (BCT) in Gdynia gained a feeder connection operated by Maersk, while in March a weekly connection between Gdynia and Great Britain was launched by Unifeeder. At the same time, Viasea made the first call to the port of Gdynia as part of the new Gdynia-Oslo-Klaipeda container connection.

In turn, for the Port of Gdańsk, the first half of 2021 brought a promotion to the first position among the largest container ports in the Baltic Sea. The Port of Gdańsk with a result of 1 049 054 TEU (+10.4% compared to the first half of 2020) overtook Port St. Petersburg, where container turnover decreased to the level of 1 037 549 TEU.

Ro-ro cargo turnover

The first half of 2021 brought a revival in ro-ro cargo traffic. All analyzed ports recorded double-digit growth in the ro-ro freight units turnover. In total, Polish ports handled 53 717 more freight units, which corresponds to 14.6% increase year on year. In the case of the Port of Gdańsk and Szczecin-Świnoujście, freight units turnover in the first half of 2021 exceeded the results achieved in the corresponding period of 2019.

In percentage terms, the largest increase was recorded at the Port of Gdańsk (+19.4% compared to the first half of 2020). In absolute terms, the largest increase was recorded in the Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście (+35 745 units in relation to the first half of 2020).

In the case of passenger cars handling, the ports in total noted growth of 17.4%, but this change was due to two ports - the port in Gdańsk and Świnoujście. The Port of Gdynia, in turn, recorded a decline of 7.5%.

Ferry passenger traffic

The almost 10% increase in ferry passenger traffic is due to increases in two Polish ports - in Gdask and in Szczecin-Świnoujście, by 16.5% and 15.6%, respectively. For both ports, the number of passengers served in the first half of 2021 is close to that achieved in the first half of the year before the pandemic. The Port of Gdynia did not report a positive change in passenger traffic. There was
a decline in this port for another year in a row, this time by 5%. In the Port of Gdynia, serving the ferry connection to Karlskrona, before the pandemic, nearly 2/3 of passenger traffic constituted passengers traveling for tourist and recreational purposes. The remaining part constituted truck drivers. Hence, travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have a stronger impact on the performance of the Port of Gdynia in terms of passenger traffic than in the case of the Port in Świnoujście, where the share of passengers traveling for tourist and recreational purposes is a bit lower.

Cruise traffic

Usually, the cruisers season in Polish ports starts in April and ends in October. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions have had a negative impact on this sector of activity. In the last six months, as in the analogical period of 2020, cruise ships did not call at the Port of Gdańsk and the Port of Gdynia. This is not an insular case, as the largest passenger and cruise ports in the Baltic Sea have not recorded cruise ship calls recently (including Helsinki, Tallinn). It was only in July that the first call of a cruise ship to Gdańsk took place, while from August to October the Port of Gdynia is scheduled to service 11 vessels. Due to the dynamically developing pandemic situation, the number of notified calls and the date may change.

The Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście, in turn, handled 8 river cruisers, 2 more than in the first half of 2020, but passenger traffic decreased by 12.2% to 360 tourists.

Outlook for second half of 2021

  • Turnover in Polish ports in July this year gives rise to optimism. The Port of Gdynia recorded
    a 12.5% ​​growth in the first seven months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. The largest increases were recorded in the following commodity groups: wood +89.9% y/y (+402.3% in July only), crude oil and petroleum products +78.6% y/y (+175.9% in July only) and general cargo +15.4% y/y (+19.8% in July only).
  • The port of Szczecin-Świnoujście is also on an upward wave. Comparing July to July, the port handled 15% more cargo than in 2020.
  • In July, the Port of Gdansk chose DCT Gdansk's offer, submitted in a tender for the lease of land within the port's boundaries, which will be created as a result of the landing of the sea area. DCT Gdańsk will build a third deepwater quay in the landfill area, thus increasing its capacity by half up to 4.5 mln TEU. The construction works are scheduled to start in the second half of 2022.
  • In July, in the Port of Świnoujście, a procedure was announced, the purpose of which is to appoint a contractor for the project of a deepwater container terminal in the outer port. The three-stage process is to be completed with the signing of the contract by the end of 2022.
  • Technical acceptance of the public ferry terminal is underway at the Port of Gdynia. Terminal will be used by Stena Line and Polferries. The official opening of the terminal is scheduled for autumn 2021.
  • Due to the still ongoing pandemic, one should be cautious in forecasting cargo handling in the second half of 2021. However, the results achieved by Polish ports in the first half of the year are optimistic. If the pandemic situation does not disrupt port activities again, ports may end the entire year 2021 with results similar to those achieved in the year just before the pandemic, or even slightly higher.
Authors:
Ewelina Ziajka
Market Analyst
ewelina@actiaforum.pl
Phone: +48 505 925 436
 
Monika Rozmarynowska-Mrozek
Consulting Projects Leader
monika@actiaforum.pl
Phone: +48 798 645 201
Here you can find more reports.