Project Vistula Spit, Poland

Vistula Spit Shipping Channel

Making the port of Elblag accessible to larger vessels

In Poland, BESIX is contributing to the construction of a new shipping channel in the Gulf of Gdansk. This is a strategic investment for the country, as it will facilitate maritime traffic and give a boost to Elblag’s port activities, local employment and the economy. The project includes breakwaters, quays, a channel, lock infrastructure with rotating bridges and sluice gates, buildings and roads, as well as an artificial island.

Scope of works

The Vistula Spit is a peninsular stretch of land, separating the Vistula Lagoon from the Gdańsk Bay. New infrastructure, designed by engineering consultants Mosty Gdańsk and Projmors, will ease the maritime traffic and boost Elblag’s port installations by drastically reducing the distance between the port and the Baltic sea and making it accessible to larger vessels. In addition to the port, the project is expected to have a positive influence on the employment rate and on the economy of the Warmia-Mazury Province.

The works include the construction of two breakwaters, a channel, two rotating bridges over the lock, four sluice gates, buildings, landscaping as well as the adjacent roads and the soil reinforcement of the roads embankments. Also, the companies will build an 190 hectares artificial island within the Vistula Lagoon. The channel stretches over 1.5 kilometers with a width varying from 25 to 120 meters. It is equipped with 61-meter long and 17-meter large rotating bridges, while the associated buildings will cover an area of 1.090 m². Located outside the spit in the Gdańsk Bay, the two breakwaters have respective lengths of 1,014 and 568 meters and form a protective harbor.

Technical & environmental requirements

With regards to marine infrastructure works, BESIX has built multiple channels and locks in Belgium and in the Netherlands over the last 100 years. The company also builds major breakwaters and protective harbors, with recent projects in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.

The contractors also have a renowned expertise in building infrastructure that comply with the highest environmental standards. For example, these include to adapt the planning and the works to the birds and bats breeding seasons and to the fish-spawning periods. On a technical level, the companies will use construction technologies that drastically reduce the need for drainage construction and the range of water turbidity, as well as the working methods and equipment which cause the lowest possible amount of noise, vibrations and waves. The construction facilities and operations will also be adapted, for instance by strictly restricting them to the working area or using appropriate lighting in order to minimize disturbance for nocturnal animals (LED luminaires with an angle of inclination from 0 to 15 degrees and a temperature of 3000-4000 K). The approximately 180 hectares artificial island will serve exclusively as a natural area, a sanctuary for the local wildlife and migratory birds.

Project details

Project name

Vistula Spit Shipping Channel


Breakwaters, Locks

Contract type

Design & Build


Vistula Spit, Poland



External partner(s)

NDI Group


Maritime Office in Gdynia (Urząd Morski w Gdyni)

Building Period

2019 - 2022

Total value

€ 187 million

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