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Gdansk: The Gate to Central Europe

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Gdansk, the city on the sea, has always benefited from its location. In its history of over 1000 years it was Poland's gate for trading grain and other goods; a place where the shipbuilding industry could thrive. Simultaneously, the location was also a source of various challenges for us.

Gdansk, was a city over which many wars were fought (it's worth mentioning here that World War II began here). Sometimes, our key industries such as shipbuilding and transporting goods didn't perform as well as in the first years after communism fell. However, what's distinctive for my city, Gdansk has always been able to emerge from the crisis, to be reborn.

The hard times that Gdansk experienced in the beginning of the 90s are long over. Almost never in our history has the city gotten more investment than it is getting now. What most of these investments have in common, is that they all contribute to increasing the role of Gdansk as a gate to Poland and Central Europe. They facilitate transporting people and goods, making Gdansk a great place to live and do business.

One of the investments we are especially proud of, is the Deepwater Container Terminal, the focal point for trade exchange in the Baltic region. It is the only deep-water terminal in the Baltic sea to have a direct connection (taking advantage of the world's largest vessels) with China, Korea and other Asian states. The first terminal - DCT1 - proved to be such a success that the owner decided to build a second one - DCT2 (16,5 m deep) - bringing to Gdansk an investment amounting to 250 million EUR in the upcoming years. The ambitious goal is to make it a terminal capable of transiting even 3-4 million TEU each year.

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Photo: Piotr Poloczanski

Quite often, good investments go in pairs and with DCT this is also the case. The railroad connection to the port has been currently modernized for 100 million EUR, increasing further the transit capabilities of our port.

Another great investment, this time for commuters, was the 18 km-long, Pomeranian Metropolitan Railroad (worth 250 million EUR), which was opened in 2015. The railroad connects Gdansk with the rest of the Pomeranian region, forming a convenient, eco-friendly connection for thousands of commuters in the city and its suburbs. It's the first such line built from scratch in Poland since the 1970s, becoming a good example of smooth cooperation between local and central governments.

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Photo: Jerzy Pinkas

By sea or by rail, these are not the only ways to get to Gdansk. Another transport facility that gives our region a great boost for development is the Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport. The airport has been constantly developing, the newest investments being the new terminal (35 million EUR) and an updated navigation system. Being one of the three most important airports in Poland, it increased its traffic by 12% year to year, serving about 3,5 million passengers.

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Photo: Jerzy Pinkas

A perfect spot for sea trade should have modern connections by any mean of transport. That is why we took a risk nobody in Poland had taken before us - we decided to dig a road tunel under the river which is the main transport canal to the shipyards in Gdansk. Tough conditions, 35 meters under the river made this 350 million EUR investment a great challenge, which will be completed in 2016. Better transit connections to the port and decreasing car traffic in the city center are two of the main goals for this investment.

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Photo: Jerzy Pinkas

It is amazing how much has been done in a relatively short time. Today, Gdansk is a much different city than it used to be even 5 years ago. Centuries ago it was named Poland's jewel in the crown to emphasize its crucial role in international trade. For a few years this jewel has been shining again, as Gdansk becomes a thriving hub for exchanging goods, a place where everybody wants to be and do business.