PTnewsBites: First Euro-China Train arrives, South Korean investors double down and Poland brings home gold

The Port of Gdansk in Poland prepared a welcome ceremony for the inaugural visit of the first ‘Euro-China Train’ (ECT). Photo: Port of Gdansk
The Port of Gdańsk gains a competitive edge over Western European competitors with game-changing Euro-China Train, South Korean investors expand footprint in the region and Poland now holds the world’s 22nd largest stockpile of gold.
Micro Bite: the Port of Gdańsk receives boost over Western European competitors with first Euro-China Train cutting freight times  

The first ‘Euro-China Train’ rolled into the Port of Gdańsk on Monday, arriving from China along the ‘new silk road’. Known as the ‘Baltic Train’, this is the first rail connection to provide a direct link from China and the Baltic. The service was developed by the Port of Gdańsk  Authority, DCT Gdańsk container terminal and route operator Adampol.

According to the Białystok-based Adampol, freight times between China and Gdańsk will be cut from 40-45 days via sea to 10-12 days via rail. With the cargo forwarded through feeder services from the Port of Gdańsk, the total delivery time (via rail and then sea) between China, Britain and Scandinavia will also be cut to 12-14 days. 

This gives the port a competitive advantage over other ports in Western Europe since westbound trains transiting through the Adampol Terminal in Małaszewicze on the Poland-Belarus border take 3-5 days to reach the Port of Hamburg compared to 1-2 days to the Port of Gdańsk. 

 “The new rail connection from China directly to the Port of Gdańsk is an alternative to Western European ports, which significantly reduces the time of container delivery to Scandinavia and Great Britain,” said Łukasz Greinke, President of the Port of Gdańsk  Authority Management Board. “It also involves fewer operations on the container, which results in lower costs.”

This comes after the announcement in May that Singapore-based PSA International, the world’s largest container operator, acquired DCT Gdańsk, the largest container terminal in Poland, for a reported $1.3bn.

The port has recently made a push towards Asian markets after opening its first trade office in Shanghai last year and co-hosting the ‘Singapore Maritime and Business Mixer’, a high-level bilateral trade conference held in Singapore in October this year.

Macro Bite: South Korean investors stepping up

On Monday, The Straits Times from Singapore shone the spotlight on Poland and the CEE region as a growing market for Asian investors, from real estate to industrial assets. In particular, the recent activity of South Korean investors was highlighted with South Korea’s National Pension Service, the third-largest pension fund in the world, powering investment in the region.

Just this year, the article noted, South Korean investors have spent €670 million in Vienna, €544 million in Prague offices and nearly €400 million in Poland as a whole. 

A large portion of the recent investment in Poland has come from two South Korean powerhouses in the lithium-ion battery sector, LG Chem and SK Innovation, which have sought to move production closer to increasing demand in the European market for electric vehicles. 

At the end of last year, LG Chem announced a $571m expansion of its plant around Wrocław to boost production from 100,000 batteries to 300,000 batteries for shipment across Europe.

In June this year, SK Innovation revealed plans to build a 1bn zł plant in the Katowice Special Economic Zone, which is expected to create over 300 new jobs. 

The Straits Times journalist was a member of a media tour which took place just before the 6th edition of the CEE Summit 2019 in Warsaw, a conference co-organised by Poland Today and UK-German real estate media company Real Asset Media.

Nano Bite: Poland calls back 100 tonnes of gold from the Bank of England 

The National Bank of Poland (NBP) announced this week that they had repatriated approximately 100 tonnes of bullion back into the bank’s treasury after being held in the Bank of England. 

The returned gold is valued at 18.3 bn zł, which brings Poland’s total stockpile to 226.8 tonnes of gold with a value of 42.3m zł. With this, the NBP moved from 34th to 22nd among central banks in the world and from 15th to 11th in Europe in terms of gold stockpile. 

President of the NBP, Adam Glapiński, said during the announcement that the gold purchase is a reflection of Poland’s exceptionally good economic situation and steady increase in foreign exchange reserves.

PTnewsBites: latest news about Poland at a micro-level mixed with the bigger nationwide trends, with something extra on the side – all bundled up in one weekly bite-size news package. All Bison. No Bull.

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Written by: Poland Today Team