Development programme FAQ
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.
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.
The City of Helsinki’s goal is to develop the area of South Harbour. The renewal of the West Harbour and the construction of the harbour tunnel are an important part of the development of Helsinki and the smooth flow of traffic in western Helsinki and the center of Helsinki.
The reform of the West Harbour and the harbour tunnel are a prerequisite for the implementation of the decision in principle made by the City of Helsinki, according to which the South Harbour area will be released as an urban space.
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.
Stockholm traffic will move to Katajanokka in 2030s, 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.
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.
Yes. Passenger traffic has already recovered quite well from the pandemic: in 2019, a good 11.5 million passengers passed through the Port of Helsinki, of which Tallinn traffic accounted for almost 9 million passengers.
In 2023, the combined number of passengers for the first three quarters was already about 7 million, of which the number of passengers in Tallinn traffic was about 5.5 million.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They will not, as the tunnel is the Port’s own investment.
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.
The Port of Helsinki’s development programme is planned to be implemented in such a way that it will be completed in the 2030s. The development program is implemented part by part, in a pre-planned order and in a controlled manner. The previous project always affects the next one, so the schedule is specified as the program progresses.
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. Before the corona, approximately 7 million passengers passed yearly through West Harbour.
Questions about the environment
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.
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.
Questions about the tunnel
The harbour tunnel and Lapinlahti area will be integrated together without major impacts on the area’s natural assets.
No, it will be a fully separate project.
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.
The harbor tunnel will also reduce heavy traffic in the center of Helsinki, as the cargo traffic that previously left to Tallinn from Katajanokka Tallinn will move through the tunnel to West Harbour.
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.
Heavy traffic in the harbour (trucks) will only use the tunnel. Passengers arriving by car can also use the tunnel, depending on their destination.
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.
The preliminary risk review has been carried out and the risks will be reviewed and managed during the project’s planning and implementation stages.
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.
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.
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.
There are currently two options to be explored for the tunnel’s ascent to Länsiväylä. The northern end of the harbor tunnel rises to the ground either between the Ilmarinen office block and the Lapinlahti area, or somewhat further along the Länsiväylä.
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.
At the moment, there are no plans for this.
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.
Questions about the traffic
Truck traffic in the South Harbour and Katajanokka in fact decreases, 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.
In the 2030s passenger ferry traffic in the South Harbour will move to Katajanokka, which will greatly reduce heavy traffic in the South Harbour.
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.
The traffic in Katajanokka will decrease when Tallinn traffic moves to the West Harbour.
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.
Over time on the South Harbour’s side, yes.
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.