Wednesday, 21 August 2013

World's largest ship calls into Gdańsk on its first commercial voyage

Imagine a standard, 20-foot container, the basic unit of today's containerised logistics. Now imagine a hundred of them. Now, imagine a thousand of them. Still managing to hold them all in your imagination? Now multiply the thousand by 18. Yes, 18,000 twenty-foot unit equivalents - that's how many containers will fit into the largest ship on earth. The first of 20 vessels, collectively called the Triple-E Class, has just completed its maiden commercial voyage from the Far East, calling into Gdańsk today.

The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller docked at the Deepwater Container Terminal in what was a significant demonstration of Poland's new-found capability as a global logistics hub. I wrote about DCT Gdańsk last year; the port continues to grow apace, and now that the local customs and sanitary-epidemiology inspectors have pledged to be more helpful, there's no reason why Gdańsk can't challenge Hamburg and Rotterdam as a major player in container trans-shipment.

The visit of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller was a big event. As she approached Gdańsk, a veritable flotilla of ships and boats of all shapes and sizes sailed out to greet her (ships are still referred to as 'she' in English!). Below, from left: a fire-boat plays its hose; the guided-missile frigate ORP Kościuszko and the sailing vessel, the Dar Młodzieży are among the dozens of craft to escort the huge visitor to Gdańsk.

Sunlight plays a crucial role in the photography of sailing ships! Below: a broadside view of the Dar Młodzieży, just outside the harbour

Below: full frontal view of the world's biggest ship. Count the containers - 22 across. And she's already berthed in Rotterdam and Hamburg along the way, so what's left is a long way from a full load.

Below: in the harbour, being shunted towards the dock by a quartet of tugs, one of which is visible in this shot.

Below: there's huge media interest in the event. Like the arrival in Wrocław of the first Pendolino train, or the arrival at Okęcie of LOT's first Dreamliner, the crowds came out in large numbers, with many spectators viewing the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller from beaches on either side of the container terminal.

This was not a courtesy visit; those containers are full of goods. Before long, the huge cranes started unloading the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller. Question is, will Polish exporters make the most of the chance of a direct sea-route to the Far East to start reducing Poland's trade deficit with that part of the world?

A great day for the Polish economy. The state treasury will collect taxes and tariffs on the goods passing through this port - money that otherwise would have gone to Germany or Holland. And the jobs are here in Poland too. DCT Gdańsk is expanding; a second terminal will soon be built; before long, Gdańsk will be able to handle several ships of this size simultaneously, great news for Gdańsk, Pomorze and Poland.


Anonymous said...

True, there may be new jobs in the shipping industry, but what about jobs lost in Polish companies put out of business by the cheap Chinese junk in those containers?

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Anon - if anything it's Polish consumers buying the 'cheap Chinese junk' that are putting Polish companies out of business. There will always be people trying to save money by buying something of poor quality - a false economy.

My hope is that Polish exporters will seize this new opportunity to capture new markets in the Far East.

New Zealand baby milk powder contaminated? Let the Chinese buy from Poland!

Anonymous said...

"My hope is that Polish exporters will seize this new opportunity to capture new markets in the Far East. "
Yes because IN POLAND the market share has been taken by LIDEL, ROSSMAN, Leroy Merlen, TESCO, RWE, , Deutsch Bank and on and on in various sectors. Lets see now, maybe we can sell them cement. Look on page 92 who the owners are,

So, your words sound soothing but they are not grounded in reality.

Good Dayyy

Michael Dembinski said...

Thanks for that - an interesting report (a case I'm familiar with in Poland, but was unaware of how corrupt the industry is worldwide!)

Poland's exporters are growing stronger by the month, Poland is quite unusual in NOT having a massive balance of trade deficit (UK balance of trade deficit in goods is likely to be around 100 billion GDP this year)