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GDANSK: Drewry Maritime Research says the addition of DCT Gdansk, Poland to the G6 Alliance's Asia-Europe Loop 7 service from August 10 suggests the country will attract more deep-sea services as its economy continues to grow faster than other EU nations.

Coupled with the construction of a second deep-water birth at a cost of €200 million and due for completion late next year, Drewry says the DCT Gdansk container facility could rival German and Benelux ports as a transshipment hub for Central Europe and beyond.

DCT Gdansk MaerskCommenting at the groundbreaking ceremony last month, Poland's deputy prime minister Janusz Piechocinski said: "Gdansk could have never become such an important commercial center if it did not have fine infrastructure linking it with Polish hinterland and countries neighboring Poland. Polish road and rail infrastructure has improved dramatically during last 10 years and thanks to investments such as the second deep-water berth in Gdansk, we continue improving the quality of Polish transport corridors."

When complete, the two Gdansk terminals will have an annual capacity of over three million TEUs.

Opened in 2007 primarily for feeder services, port traffic at DCT Gdansk expanded in 2010 when Maersk Line added the terminal to its Asia-Europe AE10 loop with ships of 8,000 TEU (right). The following year the company introduced 15,500 TEU capacity which it replaced in 2013 with 18,000 TEU 'Triple E' vessels.

In a related move, Maersk Line has now placed a US$1.1 billion order for nine 14,000 TEU capacity vessels from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for delivery in 2017. The agreement includes an option for up eight more ships.

For the first time, the company is ordering vessels with a flexible design that can be deployed on East-West trades, such as via Gdansk, or North-South destinations where requirements may differ but will have no negative impact on fuel consumption.

"I am very pleased about this order for which we have taken a new approach. The vessels will be designed to operate in and perform efficiently across many trades and not just designed for one specific trade. They will help us stay competitive and make our fleet more flexible and efficient," said Søren Toft, COO of Maersk Line.

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