Both Gdansk and Gdynia To Do Well This Year
Polish ports will have a good year in 2015. We are now predicting cargo volume growth in the 6-9% range - very encouraging against the context of the rest of Europe. GDP expansion, a continuing trade recovery (despite some worries over export demand), the beneficial effects of capacity expansion, and Poland's important gateway role will support growth. Both key ports - Gdansk and Gdynia - will see tonnage and box traffic rising at a healthy rate.
As BMI has been expecting, the Polish economy is being driven forward by a recovery in domestic demand supported by growing exports, as the German supply chain receives a boost from a weak euro and low oil prices. There are some potential problems on the horizon, but we believe these are not serious enough to alter a generally positive picture. One is a strengthening Swiss franc, which could hold back Polish household spending, since nearly 40% of Polish mortgages are held in Swiss francs. The stronger Swiss franc could mean higher mortgage repayments by Polish families, limiting their spending in other areas. But this may be offset by lower Swiss interest rates. A second problem is posed by lower exports to Russia and the Ukraine, caused by a combination of economic and political problems in those markets. But this too may be offset by export gains elsewhere. The net result is that we have increased our GDP growth forecast to 3.5% this year (up from 3.2% previously). We expect growth of 3.7% in 2016.
Headline Industry Data
2015 port of Gdansk tonnage throughput forecast to grow 6.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 34.246mn tonnes. Over the medium-term to 2019, we project a 6.5% average annual increase.
2015 port of Gdansk container throughput forecast to grow 8.0% to 1.31mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Over the medium-term, we project an 8.9% average annual increase.
Port of Gdynia tonnage to increase 8.8% to 21.116mn tonnes in 2015, with five-year average annual growth at 7.0%.
Port of Gdynia container handling growth predicted to be 6.7% in 2015 to 905,674 TEUs, with growth set to average 6.4% in the medium-term to 2019
2015 total trade growth forecast at 11.9%, up significantly from an estimated 3.3% in 2014.
Key Industry Trends
Strong Year for Gdansk In 2014: The Port of Gdansk reported a 6.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) rise in cargo throughput to 32.3mn tonnes in 2014, according to preliminary results reported in the press release of the port of Gdansk Authority. The rise was primarily the result of a nearly 40% increase in the transhipment of other bulk, more than 13% increase in the throughput of fuels, around 10% increase in grain shipments and about 7% rise in general cargo. The port's container throughput rose by nearly 3% y-o-y to more than 1.2mn twenty-foot equivalent units .
Expansion Work Starts a t DCT: Construction has started on a EUR290mn (USD328.44mn) project to expand Deepwater Container Terminal Gdansk's (DCT Gdansk) facilities in Poland. Belgian firm BESIX Group is the general contractor for the project, while Mott MacDonald is the designer. The project will increase the terminal's annual marine berth handling capacity by up to 3mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). The expanded berth will be able to handle vessels of more than 18,000 TEU. Work is scheduled to be completed in H216, according to DCT Gdansk CEO Maciek Kwiatkowski (KHL).
Konecranes t o Supply 15 RTGs: DCT Gdansk has placed an order for 15 rubber tired gantry cranes (RTGs) with manufacturer Konecranes, which will be delivered in the second half of 2016. DCT Gdansk is the only deep-water terminal in the Baltic receiving direct shipping calls from the Far East. The Konecranes RTG cranes on order for DCT Gdansk are high-performance, 16-wheel RTGs with a lifting capacity of 40.6 tons, a stacking height of one-over-five, and a stacking width of seven plus truck lane wide. They are all-electric RTGs powered by a cable reel system. DCT Gdansk received its first vessel in June 2007. Since January 2010, DCT Gdansk started receiving on a weekly basis 8,000 TEU container vessels departing from the Far East.
Risks t o Outlook
Although difficult EU-Russia political relations over the Ukraine continue to be a source of concern because of their impact on trade, the biggest downside risk for Poland and its freight and shipping sector is the possibility of a eurozone slowdown, and particularly of a German recession. Germany takes just over one-quarter (26%) of Polish exports. Although we had been relatively downbeat about Germany's short-term prospects, predicting growth of 1.3 % in 2015, we have since lifted that to 1.5%.