The G6 Alliance, consisting of APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MOL, NYK and OOCL has announced that it will start calls at Gdansk in Poland on its Asia-Europe Loop 7 service, with the first call scheduled to arrive at the Baltic Sea port on August 10, 2015, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants.
Loop 7 will become the second weekly service linking Gdansk with Asia – the other being the AE10/Silk operation of 2M partners Maersk Line and MSC.
In the currently oversupplied container market, Drewry says that finding space for an extra ship is useful for carriers, especially the large number of big ships that are scheduled to be delivered, but the G6’s Gdansk call is more than about carriers trying to waste capacity.
Poland’s relative economic strength is evident by its container flows. While box traffic from Asia to Europe has stalled recently – volumes were down 3% in the first four months of this year – Poland stands out in comparison by registering a fractional increase.
Its container imports from Asia have dramatically outpaced the rest of Northern Europe in recent years with Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2009 and 2014 of 12%, more than twice the rate of the rest of the region (see Figure 1).
Poland’s rising importance in the container market is tied to increased usage of DCT Gdansk, a terminal facility that started operations in mid-2007, initially only for feeder services.
DCT Gdansk growth moved up through the gears at the start of 2010 when Maersk Line (who had previously transferred its Poland operations to Gdansk from Gdynia in December 2008) added the terminal to its Asia-Europe AE10 loop, which at the time used ships of around 8,000 TEU.
Drewry View: Poland will inevitably increase its share of the Asia-Europe container trade and attract more deep-sea services as its economy outpaces other EU nations. New infrastructure improvements such as DCT Gdansk T2 will help the country become a major rival to German and Benelux ports as a transhipment hub for Central Europe and beyond.