The Port of Gdynia is set to become the most modern port on the Baltic Sea following major reconstruction work which will lower the depth of the harbor to cater for large vessels. The work is due to finish in 2027.
The original Gdynia harbor from the 1920s was designed so that any ship entering the Baltic Sea could dock there. This included the biggest vessels of that age, whose entrance into the Baltic was restricted by the depth of the sailing tracks.
When the harbor was first constructed, the depth of the tracks in the Great Belt – the Danish strait of entrance to the Baltic – was the deepest at 12 meters. This was also the depth of Gdynia’s approach fairway.
Ships back in the day usually did not have such levels of immersion due to technological restrictions and were not yet limited by the 12-meter depth restriction adopted in the 1920s. It was only after the invention of new Liberty type vessels by the United States during the Second World War that pushed the limit to 17 meters.
Today, a 12-meter sailing track depth is nothing out of the ordinary. The Danish Great Belt was deepened to 17 meters, so that ships of an immersion of 15 meters may enter the Baltic Sea. The 2 meter safety margin is necessary for modern huge ships.
The project to build an external pier in Gdynia deep enough to serve modern ships first came up in the seventies but was abandoned until now. A new external port will now be constructed on the extension of the Coal Pier.