20. April 2021

Interview with Cameron Thorpe

Mr. Cameron Thorpe is currently the CEO of DCT Gdansk – the largest container terminal in the Baltic Region. Mr. Thorpe spent thirteen years at DP World, with a global Business Development role based in Dubai followed by Terminal CEO roles in Romania, Australia, Thailand, Korea, and the UK. He was being responsible for facilities in excess of 4m TEU and $1.5bn investment.
Prior to joining DP World, Cameron worked over a 16 year period with one of the world’s largest container shipping lines, gaining a broad range of experience in roles covering commercial management, senior contract negotiation, in-country management, and terminal development in the UK, Kenya, Tanzania, and in The Netherlands. 


1. Do you consider the increasing vessel capacity as a disruptor of the Port Services development?
The drive to larger ships comes from shipping lines seeking economies of scale, but these ULCV’s can also provide a lower carbon footprint per container. However, the ULCV’s do need the right maritime and port infrastructure and this is where DCT Gdansk excels. DCT Gdansk is one of the few ports in Europe without any maritime restrictions and able to berth the world’s largest ships 24/7 (Also 365!). With customers switching to DCT Gdansk because of the world-class service levels and access to direct deep-sea shipping routes, the terminal has seen rapid growth and we now handle the largest scheduled container exchanges in Europe. We, therefore, make it a priority for the terminal’s development to move ahead and exceed our customer’s expectations.
But handling big ships is more than just excellent maritime and berth capability. It also means providing landside infrastructure of the highest quality to ensure these containers can move freely and quickly to or from the customers based inland. Therefore one of the most exciting developments at DCT Gdansk is the expansion of our on-site railhead, where later this year we will finalize the doubling of current capacity. When completed, we will have seven sidings, each capable of taking a 750m train. This will give DCT Gdansk over 5km of sidings and dual-track entry. With this enhanced infrastructure, our inland customers will have access to an efficient rail service providing peace-of-mind and enjoy the significant cost savings of a shorter rail route to Gdansk compared to traditional ports to the south or west. 
2. Tell us about key areas where Port of Gdansk improved the most and why?
DCT Gdansk is constantly investing in its handling capabilities to meet growing market demand and exceed customer expectations. Despite the challenging 2020 conditions due to the pandemic, the terminal continued its development plans. Our T2b and T2c expansion programs are nearing completion with additional yard area and equipment. Many components of these programs are already finished – 3 additional super-post-panamax quay cranes (to a total now of 14) all capable of handling the largest ships afloat, 5 additional eRTGs, 3 new RMG cranes for the rail, 15 additional hectares of new area completed or being developed, a fully automated gate process with OCR cameras integrated with our ‘E-gate’ Vehicle Booking System, OCR cameras on our rail entry, and a new access road to DCT.
 Our rail developments we’ve already mentioned, but this year will also see a further 3.6Ha of yard completed and another 10 electrical RTGs ordered. In a separate development, DCT leased 6.5ha of land connected to the terminal which will enable us to develop new tailor-made logistics solutions to meet the needs of Shipping Lines and BCOs, perhaps as a port-based distribution center.
3. What is your opinion about positioning WOF EXPO in Central and Eastern Europe region?
DCT Gdansk has been strengthening its position as the Northern Gateway for the fastest-growing region in Europe. DCT does not only serve Poland but is also one of the most efficient ways to serve the Baltic Sea market via transshipment and also it is the most cost-effective way to serve the hinterland markets of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, and Western Ukraine. DCT Gdansk is proud to be the heart of the Baltic and WOF taking place in the Central and Eastern European region will help shine a spotlight upon what are the fastest growing economies in Europe, bringing a lot of opportunities for the logistics industry stakeholders taking part in the expo. 
4. What will be the impact of Covid19 for your further business development?
2020 was a challenging year for many businesses including the shipping industry because of COVID-19, but despite the impact on the economy, we actually saw growth in our import/export cargo here at DCT Gdansk. As previously mentioned, the Covid-19 pandemic has not had any impact on our development plans and we have continued to expand our capabilities to offer the northern gateway alternative that is dedicated to serving our Central, Eastern European neighbors as the Baltic Hub.

DCT Gdansk container terminal connects Poland and CEE countries to the world’s largest shipping trade-lane between Europe and Asia. DCT Gdansk is a state-of-the-art container terminal with modern infrastructure handling some of the world’s largest ships to ensure that goods can be traded more efficiently. DCT Gdansk doesn’t only serve Poland, but with its deep-water location giving zero tidal or navigation restrictions, it also offers the most efficient way to serve the Baltic Sea market. DCT Gdansk is a true intermodal gateway with its own operated on-dock rail terminal, currently under-going an expansion to offer over five kilometers of rail sidings. DCT offers a cost effective way to serve the hinterland markets of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus and Western Ukraine. The terminal provides competitive delivery times and has one of the shortest rail routes into these land-locked markets therefore limiting the logistics carbon footprint. In 2019, DCT Gdansk handled over 2 million TEU (20-foot equivalent unit), with direct calls by the world’s largest ships afloat. Thanks to 17 metres of berth’s depth and Baltic’s largest container cranes with an outreach of 26 rows, DCT Gdansk is the only terminal in the Baltic Sea capable of handling ships of this size.