BALTIC, NORDIC, & CIS TRADE 2006 - North Europe port developments reflect strong economy

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): International Trade  Ports & Terminals  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOTThe economy of the Baltic and Nordic region continues to expand, largely thanks to the enlargement of the European Union and improving conditions in Russia. Here is a look at developments at some ports in this part of the world.
Germany’s Rostock shows gains
The Hanseatic City of Rostock has long been regarded as the “turnstile for business relations” to Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Russia, Western and Southern Europe. Located in northeastern Germany, Rostock’s port is one of the biggest, and Germany’s deepest in the Baltic Sea.
Not surprising, the port provides an ideal location for commerce. Sea, ground, and air transport links here. The A19/A20 motorway junction leads directly into the port and extends from a newly modernized national trunk road system. Pipelines link the oil port with the refineries in Böhlen, Leuna and Schwedt.
The port functions as a central cargo handling point. Last year, it recorded its best cargo throughput results ever, with 24.2 million tons of cargo moving through the port, an increase of 1.2 million tons, or five percent over 2004.
“The port is bursting,” states Ulrich Bauermeister, managing director of Hafen -Entwicklungsgesellschaft Rostock. “Increases were seen in almost every cargo category, albeit at different levels.”
Bulk solids transport increased 5.77 million tons, up six percent. Grain transport accounted for the largest share of all bulk solids handled, increasing to 2.3 million tons in 2005, a gain of 1.1 million tons over 2004. Liquid cargoes remained constant at 2.5 million tons. General cargo increased 15%, rising to 656,000 tons. The transport of plasterboard, sugar sacks and timber accounted for the main portion of general cargo throughput. The only decrease was in ro/ro cargo, which fell from 1.4 to 1.1 million tons.
“This decrease can be attributed to increasing road transport by truck to the Baltic states, aided by cheap diesel fuel prices in Eastern Europe as well as the seven week long labor dispute in the Finnish paper industry in summer of 2005,” remarks Bauermeister.
In 2005, only 500,800 tons of paper rolls were transported, while in 2004 the total was 570,000.
“In spite of these unfavorable circumstances, we were able to record good results for 2005,” comments Joachim Thonagel of UPM Kymmene Rostock.
Some 323,000 tons of paper were imported from Finland, and 178,000 tons were exported to the United States and England. Rostock represents the Finnish paper company’s primary port for the transport of super-jumbo rolls. A total of 545,800 tons of paper were handled at the seaport last year. The beginning of the year saw shipping company Transfennica take over the transport of paper from Finnlines Co.
Improvements in Poland move tradeEconomic development in Poland is booming. Helping trade is improvements to Poland’s road network, which expanded in 2004 to some 483.5 kilometers of highways and 216 kilometers of express roads. Construction is planned for four main arteries which will extend the existing highway network.
Last year activity at the Port of Gdynia’s Baltic Container Terminal (BCT) showed increases in handlings. In 2005, BCT handled 395,757 teus, six percent more than in 2004. Of the total, 205,901 teus were imports and 189,856 teus were exports. Imports largely consisted of textiles and electronics while exports were foodstuffs and furniture. In October 2005, BCT recorded its highest handling volume ever of 36,707 teus.
At the same time, the number of passenger cars handled decreased.“Downturn in demand for new, unused cars has greatly affected our handlings,” comments Andrzej Kujoth, BCT chief commercial officer. “Decreases in sales in car showrooms translates directly into decreases in car imports.”
Nevertheless, BCT was awarded a new contract with General Motors and their carrier UECC to export Polish-built Opel cars to the UK market. “This contract will improve our 2006 results,” says Kujoth.
BCT was privatized two years ago. The

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American Journal of Transportation