The Port of Gdansk is breaking records. He has already overtaken Amsterdam, Valencia and Barcelona

Luc Williams

The port of Gdańsk plays a key role in Poland's maritime trade

For hundreds of years, the port of Gdańsk has played a key role in the Polish economy. It was the lack of control over it that forced Gdynia to be built in the 1920s. In 2006, the port of Gdańsk handled 24.2 million tons. Gdańsk itself was then responsible for 40% of the transshipment turnover of Polish seaports, the vast majority of which, 23.8 million tons, was related to international trade.

This gave it first place in Poland, but compared to the largest seaports in Europe, it was a very poor result. The year 2007 was very important for the port of Gdańsk. On October 1, 2007, the Baltic Hub container terminal (previously known as DCT Gdańsk) was opened.. It was the first container terminal in our country that could accept transoceanic container ships from China.

Container port in Gdańsk. The photo shows the T1 quay opened in 2007 (right) and the T2 quay opened in 2016 (left). / Port of Gdansk

The financial crisis affected the port's results, as in 2008 it handled only 17.8 million tons. In 2010, 27.2 million tons were transhipped. In 2011, there was a drop to 25.3 tons, but this year began a long-term boom for Gdańsk. In 2012 it was 26.9 million tons. In 2013, we managed to break the mark of 30 million tons of transhipped goods. In 2016, it was 37.3 million tons.

Golden years 2016-2019 for the port of Gdańsk

Of the 37.3 million tons, 14.5 million were general cargo and wood, 12.8 million were liquid fuels, and 5.1 million were coal. In the second half of 2016, the second quay (T2) was put into operation, thanks to which the transhipment capacity of the container port increased from 1.5 million to 3 million TEU (TEU is a unit of capacity equal to a 6-meter container).

The year 2017 ended with 40.6 million tons. Such a good result gave Gdańsk 6th place in the Baltic Sea. No Polish port in history has ever transhipped so many goods in a year. However, Gdańsk did not stop, and in 2018, 49 million tons were transhipped (which means an increase of almost 20% during the year). In this way, it advanced to 4th position in the Baltic Sea.

View of the port of Gdańsk from the land side / Port of Gdańsk

For comparison, the total transshipment of Poland in that period amounted to 100 million tons, and for the Baltic Sea it was approximately 900 million tons. We continued our growth streak in 2019, when 52.2 million tons of goods passed through the port of Gdańsk. This is twice as much as in 2012. The dynamics were truly impressive.

The Port of Gdańsk proved resistant to the COVID-19 pandemic

In 2020, global trade came to a standstill. A pandemic of this scale was new to humanity. In the first half of the year, transhipment volumes in Gdańsk decreased by 15% to 23.2 million tons. However, such declines were a sign of our port's resilience, as others experienced much deeper declines. Paradoxically, it was in the first downward year in years that the port of Gdańsk got into trouble among the 20 largest ports in Europe in terms of transhipment.

Port of Gdańsk / Port of Gdańsk

Throughout 2020, the port of Gdańsk transhipped 48 tons, which allowed it to take 18th place in Europe. A year later, it was 53.2 million tons and 17th place in Europe. In 2022, the port of Gdańsk overtookTrieste, St. Petersburg and Murmansk, thus advancing to 13th position. 2023 was an excellent year for our port. As many as 81 million tons of cargo were transhipped in Gdańsk, which gave it 9th place in Europe.

The increases were mainly driven by fuels and agricultural goods. Record transshipments translated into huge profits. In 2023, the Port of Gdansk Authority recorded a profit of PLN 224.4 million. Naftoport is also very important. Thanks to him, Gdańsk became oil hub for the entire region. In 2023, it transhipped a total of 36.6 million tons of crude oil and fuels.

Dry bulk terminal and the second quay of the container port, author: Tomasz Dresler / Port of Gdańsk

Naftoport is an important link in the supply chain not only for Polish, but also German refineries (after the closure of the “Przyjaźń” oil pipeline). Łukasz Malinowski, president of the management board of the Port of Gdansk, believes that within a few years it will be possible to exceed the barrier of 100 million transshipments.

Which ports came out on top?

Last year, the Port of Gdańsk overtook Amsterdam, Valencia, Marseille and Barcelona. These are large sea transshipment ports, so the result should be admirable. Especially since in 2019 the port of Gdańsk was not even among the top 20 largest ports in Europe.

Which ports are currently the largest? First place went to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In 2023, 438.8 million tons of goods were transhipped there. This largest European port is among the global leaders and in this respect it is unrivaled on the Old Continent.

CSCL Globe – unloading in Rotterdam / Media

Second place is taken by the Belgian port of Antwerp-Bruges, where 269.7 million tons of goods were transhipped. Rounding out the podium with 161.4 million tons was Novorossiysk, Russia. Right behind the podium was the first German port – Hamburg. In 2023, 114.3 million tons of goods were transhipped there. The top five is rounded off by the second Russian port – Ust-Luga. In this case, we are talking about 113.5 million tons of transhipped goods.

The Spanish port of Algeciras took sixth place, where 97.2 million tons of goods were transhipped last year. In Constanta, Romania, it was 92.5 million tons, which gave this port 7th place in the ranking. Only in 8th place was the first port in France – Haropa. 81.3 million tons of goods were transhipped there, which is almost the same as in Gdańsk, where it was 81 million tons. The top ten is closed by the Dutch Amsterdam, where a similar amount of 80.8 million tons of goods was transhipped.

The top ports also include such ports as Spanish Valencia (76.8 million tons), French Marseille (72.9 million tons), Russian Primorsk in the Kaliningrad Oblast (63.1 million tons), Barcelona (62.5 million tons) and Bremen in Germany (58.5 million tons).

Europe's largest ports (2023):

  • Rotterdam (Netherlands) 438.8 million tonnes
  • Antwerp-Bruges (Belgium) 269.7 million tonnes
  • Novorossiysk (Russia) 161.4 million tons
  • Hamburg (Germany) 114.3 million tons
  • Ust-Luga (Russia) 113.5 million tons
  • Algeciras (Spain) 97.2 million tons
  • Constanta (Romania) 92.5 million tons
  • Haropa (France) 81.3 million tons
  • Gdańsk (Poland) 81 million tons
  • Amsterdam (Netherlands) 80.8 million tons
  • Valencia (Spain) 76.8 million tonnes
  • Marseille (France) 72.9 million tons
  • Primorsk (Russia) 63.1 million tons
  • Barcelona (Spain) 62.5 million tons
  • Bremen (Germany) 58.5 million tons


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.