Harbour history

The maritime tradition of Elbląg reaches the oldest past of the city. Initially, the success of Elbląg was related to the development of sea trade in the zone of Hanza, which included areas in the basin of Baltic Sea and North Sea. The trade between countries in the zone of Hanza exceeded 90 % of global turnover.

Elbląg was, apart from Gdańsk, a main sea harbour of Poland. It was due to its location on the river Elbląg which is connected with the main Polish river - Vistula. Elbląg was also one of the centres of naval policy of Polish kings.

Under the Prussian and German rule (1772 – 1945) the shipyard industry was developed in Elbląg. In 1837 The Schichau’s Factory, was founded. As the time passed, it turned into the biggest concern in The State of Prussia. In 1900 the factory has 3 000 employees and it produced, among other things, steam engines, locomotives and special vessels for trade and navy, especially torpedo-boats and submarines for Kriegsmarine (German Navy) as well as for export. They were being purchased by 13 mainly European countries, but also by China, Japan, Argentina, Brazil and USA. The city had also a big Komnick’s Factory where lorries were produced.

Between WW I and WW II, in the thirties, the increase of significance of port Elbląg took place. The biggest turnover was taken down in 1936. It amounted to 500 000 tones. Many goods were exported through The Harbour of Elbląg, such as cole, coke, iron, fodder, building materials, fertilisers. Corns, flour, tobacco, parts of engines were imported. It was the result of boom in the market and the fact that The Third Reich started the serious war industry. During The World War II the Schichau’s shipyard produced the submarines, torpedo boats and others very intensively. The total amount of vessels produced from 1885 until 1945 in all Schichau’s industrial plants was 1 643 items.

In 1945 Elbląg returned to Poland. Many factors caused that city could not rebuilt its previous role of seaport although many attempts were made after the war and in the sixties. The fact that Soviet Union ignored the treaty with Poland excluded The Harbour of Elbląg from international trade. That treaty guaranteed fairway in the Russian part of The Vistula Bay and Pilawa Strait for Polish ships. None of Polish harbours was in such situation.

Changes in political situation, economy restructuring and actions of local government resulted in the opportunities to change that difficult position.

In the nineties the city started efforts to reactivate the Harbour in Elbląg. The boundaries of the harbour were updated and the sea boarder cross point was created. All institutions necessary for passenger traffic and goods traffic service are working now there. There is a Border Guard, Customs House, Port Authority and Management Board of the Harbour. There has been a revival of passengers and goods transport since 1993.



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