Development programme FAQ


1.    Why does the City of Helsinki have a port?

Traditionally, ports have been established in centres of commerce, and originally Helsinki was once founded as a port to compete with the City of Tallinn.
The Port of Helsinki and the growing Helsinki metropolitan area benefit from each other by producing mutual synergy benefits for logistic transport chains, for example.

2.    How does the City benefit from the Port?

The Port produces benefits such as tourism revenue; vitality of business and jobs; good, regular connections to Tallinn and elsewhere in Europe, municipal taxes and better national economy. Also the logistic costs of goods transportation are lower in comparison to longer haulage distances which affects eventually the price of goods. 

3.    Why are port operations being reorganised?

The City of Helsinki has a goal to develop the South Harbour area and, on the other hand, the connections in the West Harbour must be improved to meet the needs of evolving harbour and shipping company operations.

4.    Could all port operations be transferred to Vuosaari?

Vuosaari Harbour serves cargo transport. The Port has reviewed whether all port operations could be transferred there, and according to studies it is not a functional solution e.g. from the perspectives of passenger and public transport, passengers’ traffic connections, travel times and the environmental impacts of construction.

5.    When will the harbour and ships leave the South Harbour?

Stockholm traffic will move to Katajanokka around 2030, and the South Harbour will still serve international cruise ships. An option for potential high-speed vessel traffic will also be reserved in the harbour area.

6.    How will berths and the Port’s environmental impacts change in relation to housing?

In principle, the berths will remain in place, but the berth closest to the Tyynenmerenkatu residential housing will most likely be removed from port use in the West Harbour. The Port adheres to its environmental permit in its operations. The environmental permit determines the conditions for the Port’s environmental impacts.

7.    Will passenger traffic return to normal after the COVID–19 pandemic?

Based on current estimates, passenger traffic should return to normal by 2023.  

8.    Will traffic to Stockholm be continued?

Yes, it will.

9.    Will we see new electricity-powered high-speed vessel traffic to Stockholm?

This is possible in theory, but we do not yet have a shipping company or good enough technical solutions that would manage this kind of transport. 

10.    Will cruise ships continue to come to Katajanokka, to the South Harbour?


11.    Can I still go on a sea voyage directly from the city centre in the future? 


12.    What will happen to the current terminal buildings?

The current West Harbour terminal T2 will continue as the Tallinn traffic terminal, and the old passenger terminal (T1) will be replaced with a new building.
Similarly, the current passenger terminal in Katajanokka will be replaced with a new building.

13.    Who will pay for the Port’s development programme?

The Port of Helsinki Ltd., which means that the company is liable for all the costs of the development programme. Port finances the programme with harbour charges paid by its customers. 

14.    Is it certain that the costs will not grow?

The costs will become clearer as the planning progresses, and the Port is liable for the projects as its own investments.
The Port’s objective is to carry out the investments that are profitable to it from the perspective of long-term business development.

15.    Will the tunnel costs fall to the City residents if the traffic estimates are not met?

They will not, as the tunnel is the Port’s own investment.

16.     Will the development programme have an effect on Finnish security of supply?

The harbour tunnel will do its part to improve the logistics chain of cargo transport, and can therefore be considered to improve the supply security chain.

17.    What is the programme schedule, when will it be finished?

The Port of Helsinki’s development programme is scheduled for implementation to be implemented in 2021–2030. It will be implemented one part at a time, in a planned and managed order. The previous project will always affect the next part.  

Read more about development programmes schedule.

18.    How much will the passenger numbers grow in Katajanokka when Stockholm traffic transfers there? What about in West Harbour?

Stockholm traffic will be centralised to Katajanokka harbour and Tallinn traffic is moved to West harbour. The amount of passengers at Katajanokka is estimated to decrease 25% compared to year 2019.  By 2040 the amount of passengers at the West harbour is estimated to reach 11,6 million.


19.    What will be the environmental impacts of the development programme?

In terms of aspects such as land traffic and sea voyages, the development programme has the most positive environmental effects of all previously examined scenarios. Concentrating traffic from the Helsinki city centre to Tallinn in the West Harbour and traffic between Helsinki and Stockholm in Katajanokka means that for some, the travel between Helsinki and Tallinn will be reduced by 3 km (3.6%). 

This will reduce the CO2 emissions of vessel traffic by a total of 1,200 tonnes (0.2%). With regards to road traffic, CO2 emissions will decrease by 550 tonnes (0.1%), compared to the 0 scenario of the Hesarama study. 

Read more about the environmental impacts of the development programme.

20.    Will the tunnel traffic (or its construction) cause vibrations in residential buildings or commercial facilities?

Temporary disturbances during construction (vibration and noise) are possible, but we will take every measure to minimise these environmental hazards and communicate them well in advance. 
Disturbances during the construction work could be compared to those caused by the metro’s construction, for example.


21.    How will the harbour tunnel affect the Lapinlahti area and its nature assets? 

The harbour tunnel and Lapinlahti area will be integrated together without major impacts on the area’s natural assets.

22.    Will the harbour tunnel be a part of the central tunnel project?

No, it will be a fully separate project.

23.    Why is the tunnel being built and why is it useful?

The tunnel will be built to improve the efficiency of traffic between Länsiväylä Western Highway and the West Harbour and to make it as disruption-free as possible; to improve the harbour’s accessibility; and to remove heavy traffic that has been felt causing caused disturbances in Jätkäsaari from the street network, thus freeing up space for other activities. 

24.    Are there any other alternatives to the tunnel?

The City and the Port reviewed several different alternatives together, but none of them were deemed feasible. From the Port’s perspective, the harbour tunnel is the best option for ensuring smooth, disruption-free harbour traffic. It will also make traffic easier to predict and anticipate and allow for systematic transport and travel chains between the harbour and the traffic network.

25.    Will all traffic in the West Harbour move to the tunnel?

Heavy traffic in the harbour (trucks) will only use the tunnel. Passengers arriving by car can also use the tunnel, depending on their destination. 

26.    Who will make the decision about the harbour tunnel’s construction?

The Board of Directors of the Port of Helsinki Ltd. If necessary, individual investments will be decided on formally by the general meeting of The Port of Helsinki Ltd. 

27.    What kinds of risks (financial, environmental) will the tunnel’s construction entail?

The preliminary risk review has been carried out and the risks will be reviewed and managed during the project’s planning and implementation stages.

28.    How will the tunnel impact traffic in Lauttasaari?

The harbour tunnel is connected to Länsiväylä Western Highway, and it will not alter traffic connections to Lauttasaari. Traffic connections to Lauttasaari will remain the same both through Länsiväylä Western Highway and via Ruoholahti. 

29.    How will the tunnel affect traffic in Jätkäsaari and everyday life in the area? 

The harbour traffic will be moved to the tunnel, which will free up space for other traffic in the street network. It can be expected that everyday traffic will run smoother in the street network after the harbour tunnel has been completed.

30.    How will construction underneath private plots of land be conducted?

Following the space reservation plan, the tunnel route will run up to approximately 40 metres below sea level, going under the metro tunnel and a number of other underground facilities, and therefore the due to which its construction will not have any notable impact on the use of private properties. 

31.    Where will the tunnel come up to join Länsiväylä Western Highway?

The tunnel mouth will be located From between the Ilmarinen office block and Lapinlahti area. Its Tunnel lanes will merge with Länsiväylä Western Highway.

32.    How will traffic be arranged when the tunnel is being built?

The tunnel will be built underground and, in the harbour, the entrances and exits will be built in an area that will later house a terminal building. At the Länsiväylä Western Highway end, the tunnel’s entrance will be placed next to a lane and its construction will have no major effects on the using Länsiväylä Western Highway traffic.
The current traffic routes will remain in use until the tunnel is ready.

33.    Will we have automated vessels in the Port of Helsinki?

At the moment, there are no plans for this.

34.     Is the tunnel to Tallinn still being planned and how will it affect the traffic in the Port?    

The tunnel to Tallinn has been proposed in the land use plans of Helsinki and Uusimaa Region, but there is no official statement on whether the plan will be implemented. The Tallinn tunnel is a project planned by the state, the City of Helsinki and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, and it is not connected to the Port’s operations.


35.    How much will truck traffic increase in the city centre?

Truck traffic in the South Harbour and Katajanokka will not increase, as centralisation means that Tallinn traffic will move to the West Harbour and it will only use Länsiväylä Western Highway as the route to and from the harbour. Towards the end of 2020s, passenger ferry traffic in the South Harbour will move to Katajanokka, which will greatly reduce heavy traffic in the South Harbour. 

36.    Will this move truck traffic to Vuosaari?

Passenger ferry traffic will continue in the West Harbour and Katajanokka Harbour. Vuosaari is investing in the Vuosaari-Muuga route, for example, which strives to promote growth in Vuosaari.

37.    How will Katajanokka withstand the increasing traffic?

The traffic in Katajanokka will decrease when Tallinn traffic moves to the West Harbour.

38.    How will the tunnel affect the amount of traffic on Länsiväylä Western Highway and the commute of Espoo residents?

The harbour traffic makes up around 10% of all traffic on Länsiväylä Western Highway, and its the harbour truck traffic around 2%. The tunnel will considerably smoothen the traffic between Länsiväylä Western Highway and the harbour. 

39.    Will the number of parking spaces in the city centre around the harbour decrease?

Over time on the South Harbour’s side, yes.

40.    How can cars get out of Katajanokka when the trucks and cars driving to and from the harbour block the one and only street connection while the Varma building (Stora Enso HQ) is being built?

The traffic connections have been designed together with the City of Helsinki, and we have attempted to ensure traffic that is as smooth as possible. The traffic in Katajanokka will decrease when Tallinn traffic moves to the West Harbour.