According to the original concept, a dry port was defined as an inland terminal to and from which shipping lines could issue their bills of lading, including all types of cargo.[1] This concept has evolved in a direction closely related to the rapid development of containerization, influencing the changing functions of the coastal areas of many port cities, and has begun to be applied in various contexts, the common feature of which is that they refer directly to: “(…) a place inland that fulfils primary port functions”[2]. The dry port concept is based on a direct link between the seaport and an intermodal terminal located at the back of the port[3]. Another definition is that a dry port is an intermodal terminal located inland, serving a region connected to one or more ports by rail and/or road. It offers specialized services between the dry port and overseas destinations. Typically, a dry port is container-oriented and provides all the logistics services that shippers need in a port[4]. Therefore, the name dry port has been adopted by analogy with a seaport, due to the similarity of much of the infrastructure and functionality. Regardless of the terminology used, there are three basic characteristics associated with it[5]:

  • An intermodal terminal, whether by rail or barge, that has been built or expanded.
  • Sea terminal connection using rail or inland waterways or trucks based on high capacity of the corridor.
  • A range of logistics activities that support and organize transit cargo, often co-located with an intermodal terminal.

As Andrzejewski and Fechner write, the dry port concept enables the creation of a qualitatively new organizational and functional structure of sea-land intermodal transport solutions. Thus, the main tasks related to sorting and organizing the dispatch of intermodal transport units in the form of containers delivered by sea are shifted from the seaport to the hinterland. This increases the rotation frequency of containers on the storage yards of maritime container terminals and increases their handling capacity, which is limited by the lack of storage space for containers after unloading from container ships, which have the capacity to carry an increasing number of containers. The dry port concept is shown in the Figure 8.2.

[1] The dry port concept – Theory and practice, Maritime Economics & Logistics, 14/2012, s. 1–13. 

[2] K.P.B. Cullinane, G. Wilmsmeier, The contribution of the dry port concept to the extension of port life cycles. In: J.W. Bo¨se (ed.) Handbook of Terminal Planning, Operations Research Computer Science Interfaces Series, Vol. 49. Heidelberg, Germany, Springer 2011, s. 359–380.

[3] V. Roso, The Dry Port Concept. Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology. Göteborg 2009, s. 1 i nast.

[4] L. Trainaviciute, K. Bentzen, M. Stie Laugesen, A. Caruso, The Dry Port – Concept and Perspectives, StratMoS WP C, 2009, s. 6.

[5] J.-P. Rodrigue, T. Notteboom, Dry ports, Port Economics, Management and Policy,

Figure 8.2 shows that the dry port is a logistics hub with a variety of logistics and multi-branch transport infrastructure. It is a hinterland port with an infrastructure for intermodal transport in the form of container terminals. Due to the distance to the seaport, dry ports can be distinguished[1]:

  • in the immediate vicinity of a seaport (close dry port);
  • in the middle distance from a seaport (midrange); and
  • at a great distance from the seaport (distant).

The advantage of the dry port concept is that it makes it possible to increase the capacity of a sea port without increasing its area in coastal areas. In addition, reducing the transport-intensity of the seaport, activating areas located at long distances from the seaport and increasing the share of rail transport in serving the seaport having a dry port.[2]

In addition to the main advantages of dry ports listed, a list of other benefits can be found. These include[3]:

  • reducing overall transport costs;
  • shifting from road to rail transport, which is more environmentally-friendly.
  • strengthening the role of ports in transport chains;
  • strengthen multimodal solutions;
  • reducing the use of expensive, centrally located areas in the port;
  • avoiding traffic bottlenecks, resulting in less congestion on roads near the port, due to the modal shift;
  • reducing local environmental problems in cities;
  • especially in less developed countries, hinterland development can be beneficial to the area in terms of job creation in the area of influence; and
  • the possibility of speeding up the customs clearance process for goods transported abroad can be achieved through the creation of dry ports with customs clearance rights.

With the implementation of the dry port concept and the possibility of extending their hinterland to areas further inland from the water, ports can outsource certain services to another terminal, such as container storage and distribution or customs clearance. The benefits of implementing the dry port concept also accrue to other stakeholders, such as the government, for which it is increased trade, higher competitiveness rates providing the benefits of implementing the dry port concept also benefit other stakeholders, such as the government, for whom it means increased trade, higher competitiveness rates providing an incentive for higher GDP growth and higher incomes, and the public, for whom it means increased employment opportunities, reduced road congestion and pollution, and fewer road accidents[4].

The implementation of a dry port can bring significant benefits, but the implementation of such terminals or their subsequent operation can be hampered by several major challenges. The main obstacles to implementing this solution on a larger scale relate to land use, the degree of development of transport infrastructure and the organization of the rail transport market. It is important to remember that dry ports are an additional transshipment point between two different modes of transport. This means an increase in additional costs in the total expenditure of the transport chain. In addition, the planning and implementation process of dry ports can take a long time. This becomes a problem when a dry port project is initiated because of already existing bottlenecks in the transport chain, for example congestion in the port, pollution in the port city or road congestion in the port city and access to the port area[5].

In Western Europe, the construction of inland terminals is most advanced due to the close integration of port terminals with rail transport and barge services. Dry rail ports are found throughout Europe and are often linked to the development of logistics zones[6].

The examples of the application of the dry port concept can be found in many countries. For example, in the Netherlands, the end of the 20th century saw the implementation of a policy that was unfavorable for ports especially for the massive expansion of terminals. Therefore, many operations were transferred from the Port of Rotterdam to inland terminals. Terminal operators at the Port of Rotterdam and the Port Authority itself established transshipment and storage facilities away from the city in order to relieve pressure on the largest port in the Netherlands and Europe. 

For example, a number of inland terminals (also called satellites) have been built in Moerdijk and Venlo, where distribution and logistics companies have been encouraged to open intermediate wholesale and distribution  centers. These are connected by rail to the Port of Rotterdam and thus guarantee port traffic and relieve space within the port area that is used for more essential business transfers. 

In Poland, measures have been taken to build an intermodal terminal in Emilianowo Bydgoszcz, which is part of the Strategy for the Development of the Port of Gdynia until 2027, which envisages increasing the share of rail transport in goods handling. Steps have also been taken to modernize the railway line to ensure fast and efficient transport of goods to the port. On 28 July 2020, the special purpose company Intermodal Terminal Bydgoszcz Emilianowo was established. This is the implementation of an agreement concluded in 2019, the signatories of which were PKP S.A., the Gdynia Sea Port Authority, PKP Cargo S.A., the Bydgoszcz Industrial and Technological Park, the National Agricultural Support Centre, the Nowa Wieś Wielka municipality and the Kujawsko-Pomorski voivode. A special purpose vehicle will prepare the design and documentation of the new logistics center. The construction of such a dry port is also planned in Zajączkowo Tczewskie and it will also serve the Port of Gdansk.[7] The Intermodal Container Yard, a dry dock, is a distribution and transshipment facility that will enable efficient and effective handling of cargo and optimization of the supply chain both from the sea inland (and vice versa) as well as in intra-European relations from west to east and from north to south. The investment will improve transport accessibility of Pomerania and enable the ports of Gdansk and Gdynia to compete effectively with international ports. The project will relieve the Tri-City ring road from the heavy traffic of cars with containers and will transfer the cargo traffic currently travelling on the roads of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot to the tracks. The location of the Intermodal Container Yard is shown in Figure 8.3.

[1] M. Wołek, Suchy port w Falköping – studium przypadku, TTS. Analizy 5-6/2010

[2] Ibidem.

[3] L. Trainaviciute, K. Bentzen, M. Stie Laugesen, A. Caruso, op. cit., s. 38.

[4] Development and operation of dry ports of international importance, Economic and Social Council, E/ESCAP/CTR(4)/3, s. 12;

[5] Ibidem, s. 82.

[6] J.-P. Rodrigue, T. Notteboom, op. cit.


The investment is located at the back of the ports of Gdansk and Gdynia, in Zajączkowo Tczewskie, at the main railway junction of line 131, in the immediate vicinity of the national road No 91 and the A1 motorway. The shuttle trains between marine and ICY terminals running according to fixed timetables will allow better organization of cargo traffic in the Tricity agglomeration area, making a better use of drivers’ working time and at the same time improving the use of the limited capacity of railway lines. The link between the national road No 91 and the A1 motorway will relieve the heavy traffic around the city of Tczew. The project will improve cargo distribution logistics through more efficient supply chain management. For efficient flow of goods in the Baltic-Adriatic corridor the infrastructure is of course necessary, but for its proper use smart logistics, oriented towards the demanding expectations of the market, is of great importance. ICY will allow better use of modernized port infrastructure and improve access to ports from the land side.[1]

[1] Suchy port w Zajączkowie Tczewskim jako infrastruktura wspomagająca działania portów morskich Gdańska i Gdyni. Opis projektu.