Gdańsk’s Deepwater Container Terminal

Located on Poland’s coast, Gdańsk has over a thousand years of shipping history. In the Middle Ages, it was already a flourishing trading centre, one of the most important ports on the Baltic Sea. Recently, Gdańsk’s significance as a port has been buoyed by the Deepwater Container Terminal (DCT).

Since opening in 2007, the DCT has contributed to Poland’s reputation as a centre for transport and logistics in Central and Eastern Europe – from the Baltic region to China.  

Based in the city’s Northern Harbour, the DCT is the biggest container terminal on the Baltic in terms of volume, with an annual capacity of 3 million TEU (twenty-food equivalent unit, the standard measure for cargo containers). With a total quay length of 1.3 km, running up to 17 metres deep, it welcomes the world’s biggest ships, with up to 19,000 TEU exchange per vessel. 

As the country’s only deep-sea terminal, the DCT plays a key role in receiving imports and picking up Polish exports. Since the terminal opened, container throughput has risen dramatically, almost quadrupling from 0.44 million TEU in 2007 to 1.6 million in 2017. Apart from imports destined for Poland, the DCT also acts as a regional hub. After arriving in Gdańsk, some goods are transhipped to other ports in the region, in the Baltic States, Sweden, Finland and Russia. 

For Poland, the DCT is especially important in the context of growing trade with the Far East, including China. It enables Poland to trade directly with Asia by sea, avoiding lengthy overland routes or transhipment from the North Sea. For both 2M and Ocean Alliance, the DCT in Gdańsk is the last port of call before their ships return to Asia. Overall, this has made trade more efficient, cut costs and shortened delivery times. It is also seen as more environmentally friendly, with a lower carbon footprint per container.