FAQ

I am going to go meet a relative who is arriving on an international cruise ship. How do I know which harbour the ship will arrive at?

The arrival times and places of ships can be found here. One can meet the passengers outside the gate zone.

I am coming to Helsinki on an international cruise ship. Is the city centre within walking distance?

From all other terminals and quaysides, except from Vuosaari Harbour, the distance to the city centre is 4 km at the most. For passengers arriving in Helsinki, instructions to the city centre can be found in the terminal pages (e.g. West Terminal 1) as well as from the section for cruise passengers that is aimed at passengers on international cruise ships.

I am coming to Helsinki on a ship, how do I get to the airport?

Instructions from the terminals to for example the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport can be found in terminal pages (e.g. West Terminal 1). You can also find Journey Planner there.

I will arrive in Helsinki the night before embarking, can I get into the terminal to wait for the ship that leaves in the morning?

Passenger terminals are not open 24 h. You can find the opening hours for the terminals at terminal pages (e.g. West Terminal 1). At Vuosaari Harbour, the ABC-service station store, for example, is open 24 hrs.

Is there a luggage room in the terminals?

There are luggage lockers in other terminals except for the Hansa Terminal. Locker sizes vary from terminal to terminal. You'll find the teminal pages at the Passenger section of our pages.

Where can I park my car for the duration of the sea voyage?

Parking spaces for the duration of the sea voyage can be found near the terminals. See the parking choices here.

Do I need a passport for a sea voyage?

You do not need a passport for cruises to Sweden – an ID card or a driver’s licence is sufficient proof of identity. For trips to Tallinn, however, you need either a passport or a photo ID card– a driver’s licence is not sufficient proof of identity. For a trip to St Petersbur, a passport is needed.

I left my passport at home; can I still board the ship?

If your destination is Tallinn or Germany, you cannot board the ship unless you have a photo ID card or a passport. You need a passport for the St. Petersburg cruise. A photo ID card or a driver’s licence is sufficient for a cruise to Sweden.

You can obtain an express passport at the Pasila Police Station. The police station at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport allows express passports only for the flight passangers

I have a card entitling me to a handicap parking space, where can I park my car for the duration of the cruise?

There are marked handicap parking spaces in front of the terminals. If the places are full, you can park without charge in any fee-based parking spaces.

I am physically disabled and I need a wheelchair to board the ship. Who should I contact?

There is a free assistance service at the terminals of Port of Helsinki. It is intended for passengers with reduced mobility due to a physical or mental disability, those with visual or hearing impairments, elderly passengers, those with temporarily reduced mobility and anyone else requiring special assistance.

Please inform your travel agent or shipping company of your need for assistance when booking your trip, and at the latest 48 hours before departure.

Will the West Terminal have city bike stations?

No, at least not in 2017. The nearest city bike station is located on Tyynenmerenkatu, to the north of West Terminal 1. The current situation of the city bike network can be viewed on the HSL website.

Where are the nearest public transport stops to West Terminal located and how will they change when Jätkäsaari is developed further?

The HSL website features all the up-to-date information about tram stops and local buses.  The bus stops for long distance buses are located in front of both terminals.

I am bringing a car from Germany to Finland. Who do I need to contact regarding the transport? And what about customs formalities?

Transport can be easily taken care of, for example, by contacting the nearest KTK (for example, Helsinki’s KTK). Possible customs formalities can be managed at the Vuosaari Harbour Gatehouse, Bridge 1. The customs service point. 

I am moving abroad. How do I send my goods in a ship container?

Contact your preferred forwarding company to send the goods.

I have goods waiting for me in a container at Vuosaari Harbour, how do I pick up the goods?

A private person cannot pick up any goods at the goods harbour. The forwarding company will take care of the matter or you can visit the gatehouse, where the service points for all operators are located.

Where can I confirm whether or not our container has arrived at the harbour?

By calling the operator who has the goods in their area. You can also enquire at the gatehouse, but you must know on which ship the goods are arriving and preferably also the number of the container.

Our company would like to arrange a visit to Vuosaari Harbour. How can I visit Vuosaari Harbour?

You cannot access the closed harbour area without a pass. Citizens can see the Vuosaari Harbour from Porvarinsilta and the Horisontti scenic overlook.

Contact Teija Ahlgren, firstname.lastname(at)portofhelsinki.fi .

I am arriving at Vuosaari Harbour in a truck many hours before the departure of the ship. How can I utilise my waiting time at the harbour?

Heavy goods drivers have at their disposal many restaurants and washing opportunities along with saunas. In addition, the Helsinki Seafarers’ Centre serves heavy goods drivers and sailors 24 hrs a day. You can find, for example, a sauna, library, church and canteen at the Helsinki Seafarers’ Centre. See the services at the Vuosaari harbour area.

I am arriving in a truck to board the ship to Germany at Vuosaari Harbour. How do I know where to go?

There is an electronic instruction system at Vuosaari Harbour that recognises vehicles and directs them to the right place. Make sure that your front licence plate is clean, so that the system can recognise your truck.

I would like to have a summer job at the harbour, where can I ask about work?

The Port of Helsinki has some summer jobs annually, you can ask Teija Ahlgren about them, firstname.lastname(at)hel.fi. or follow our Careers-page. In addition, the shipping companies, logistics companies and harbour operators hire summer workers. See the companies’ contact information in the Business Register.

How is noise minimised at the Port?

When the ships move within the Port’s water areas, their main engines make some noise. When moored, the main engines are shut off and the vessels use smaller auxiliary engines to produce the energy they need (lighting, heating, ventilation, etc.) Ventilation machines also make some noise, as do the ships’ loading and unloading operations. Work machinery, such as forklifts and terminal tractors, as well as vehicle traffic, are also one source of noise.

The noise made by the auxiliary engines, in particular, typically has a strong, low-frequency tone, which clearly penetrates building facades more easily than noise from traffic does. Additionally, the source of the noise is located at a relatively high level, which means that the noise spreads more easily into the surrounding areas.

The Port of Helsinki takes the vessels’ noise and emission levels into consideration when choosing the berths and drafting schedules. 

  • Among other measures, a noise barrier has been built in Vuosaari Harbour, which significantly decreases the noise emissions spreading into the bordering nature conservation area.
  • Katajanokka Harbour provides vessels operating to Stockholm with an onshore power connection, which helps to cut down the noise from auxiliary engines.
  • In certain berths, the Port of Helsinki has required vessels to take some measures to decrease the ventilation noise, use a quieter auxiliary engine and stop on-deck announcements.
  • The Port of Helsinki is constantly working with the city planning authorities to ensure that the impacts of port operations are taken into consideration in zoning work.

The noise levels of the Port are controlled with environmental permits, which are a mandatory requirement for port operations. These permits define, for example, the permitted daily average noise levels and how to monitor them.

West Harbour is the busiest passenger harbour of the Port of Helsinki. The Port’s environmental permits regulate the noise level of port operations measured from the outdoor areas of the residential districts. The noise review performed in summer 2016 states that the average noise levels for both day and night times fall below the limit values defined in the environmental permit. Read more on the subject.

What happens to the ships’ waste waters?

Between 2019 and 2023, a ban on releasing untreated wastewater into the Baltic Sea will come into force, phase by phase. This means that the ships will either have to discharge their wastewater into the Port’s systems, to be conducted to a treatment plant, or they must treat their wastewater on board, with the ship’s own wastewater treatment equipment.

However, the Port of Helsinki has accepted wastewater from ships without charging a separate fee since 2008. The ships can empty their wastewaters directly into the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority’s (HSY) sewer network from all berths provided by the Port of Helsinki. In addition to this, in 2016, the Port of Helsinki introduced an incentive, which offers a 20% discount on the waste charges for solid and oily wastes for ships that discharge their wastewater into the harbour’s systems. The ships of regular liner traffic mostly leave their wastewater in the harbour while staying at the Port of Helsinki. Most international cruise ships also discharge their wastewater into the harbour’s systems or treat their own wastewater with the ship’s wastewater treatment equipment. In 2016, nearly 90% of international cruise ships discharged wastewater at the Port of Helsinki’s quays. Read more on the subject.

Could onshore power supply be the solution for maritime industry’s environmental problems?

Ships need energy for heating, ventilation and lighting, even while in their berths. The ships use auxiliary engines to produce this energy. They are diesel or gas engines that are significantly smaller than the main engines intended for moving the ship.

A few of the Port of Helsinki’s quays have the option to supply the ships with electricity directly from the quay, which decreases the need for the auxiliary engines. For example, Viking Line ships operating to Stockholm from Katajanokka Harbour can be connected to the onshore power supply, which is an electricity network produced centrally on shore.

To make use of the onshore power supply, however, ships must be equipped with the appropriate technology and, on shore, a shore power transformer substation is needed. Onshore power supplies are best suited for traffic where the ship stays in the berth for several hours. Traffic from West Harbour to Tallinn, for example, is so-called short turnaround time traffic, which means that the ships stay in the berths only for a short while, making connection to the onshore power supply impossible.

The positive environmental impacts of using onshore power are therefore local. The impacts of emission-deceasing fuel selections, however, are clearly more far-reaching. Read more on the subject.

How is the air quality at the harbours monitored?

The ship and vehicle traffic using the harbour areas discharge emissions into air. The Port of Helsinki participates in the joint monitoring of the Helsinki metropolitan area’s air quality. One of HSY’s air quality measuring stations will be placed in one part of the harbour area every other year. In general, the air quality has been good in all the harbour areas, and the limit values have not been exceeded significantly or repeatedly. Read more on the subject.

Why does cargo traffic and vehicle traffic pass through West Harbour?

Port operations have been part of Jätkäsaari ever since the end of 19th century, and the passenger traffic in its current form started in 1995. In 2008, West Harbour’s container traffic was moved to the recently opened Vuosaari Harbour. These days, West Harbour mostly serves fast liner traffic to Tallinn: both passengers and cargo traffic utilising trucks and trailers.

The business operations of passenger shipping companies are based on the fact that cargo is also transported on the RoPax ferries. With regard to environmental impacts, marine transport is a sustainable form of cargo traffic, and combining passenger and cargo traffic is an energy-efficient operating method.