The Port of Helsinki’s development programme facilitates profitable growth in port operations. It also meets the needs of Helsinki residents and customers of the port. Terminal investments, the construction of port infrastructure and more functional traffic arrangements will improve the passenger experience, the services at the port and the shipping companies’ operating environment, while also opening up space for residents to use. 

The business activities of shipping companies operating at the ports of the Helsinki city centre are based on an economic concept that combines passenger and cargo traffic on the same ships and guarantees dense, efficient, regular and environmentally friendly ship traffic between Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm.

The development programme will ensure that the current, efficient and regular passenger and cargo traffic will remain possible and that ship passengers can continue to arrive directly in the centre of Helsinki.

Current situation: a strong position in both passenger and cargo traffic

The business activities of the Port of Helsinki are divided into two business activity segments: passenger and cargo traffic. In terms of passenger numbers, the Port of Helsinki is Finland’s largest passenger port and one of Europe’s busiest passenger ports brokering international traffic. 

The Port of Helsinki is also Finland’s largest port for general cargo and imports. It primarily serves Finland’s foreign trade shipments done in units, i.e. with containers, trucks and trailers. Efficient port operations require functional traffic connections.

The Port of Helsinki’s market share of the total amount of passengers in mainland Finland’s sea ports is about 80%. The total income for the region in 2017 from sea passengers who travelled through the Port of Helsinki was near 690 million euros (Port of Helsinki Ltd, Impact Assessment 2019).

The volume of foreign goods traffic going through the Port of Helsinki is, in tonnes, approximately 14% of the traffic of all Finnish ports. For unitised cargo, the number is 40%. The value of the goods is 43–54 billion euros, i.e. 40–50% of the value of all maritime transport in Finland.

Read more about the 2019 impact assessment (in Finnish)

Ship travel will also be lively in Helsinki in the 2030s

In the 2030s, the Port of Helsinki will continue to be the busiest and most versatile port for passenger traffic in Finland. The impact of passenger traffic will be evident in aspects such as the supply of tourist services, the hotel and restaurant business, local and long distance traffic and retail.

In the 2030s, the Port of Helsinki will continue to be the busiest and most versatile port for passenger traffic in Finland.

In accordance with the centralisation scenario of the programme, the Katajanokka Terminal will serve Stockholm traffic, while the West Harbour will serve traffic to Tallinn. The Hansa passenger terminal of the Vuosaari Harbour will serve passenger traffic to and from Travemünde, Germany.

The development programme facilitates growing and developing port operations particularly in the West Harbour, which is the most significant port in the city centre. A harbour tunnel to be built in the West Harbour will improve the port’s accessibility. It will also make traffic in the Jätkäsaari and Ruoholahti area smoother with fewer disruptions, and the environmental effects of the port above ground will be reduced.

Another passenger terminal (T1) will be built in the West Harbour to serve traffic to and from Tallinn. The new terminal will meet the needs of functions supporting both the passenger facilities and the passenger experience, as well as travel in general. Another new passenger terminal will be built in Katajanokka Harbour to serve passengers travelling to and from Stockholm. In particular, it will meet the functional needs of shipping companies operating at the same time while also providing structure to the use of the port area.

The connection to Tallinn will drive the growth in passenger traffic, and passenger traffic to and from Stockholm and Travemünde are expected to grow moderately. International cruise traffic is also predicted to return to the pre-coronavirus level in the next few years.

Cargo traffic will continue to grow in the 2030s

Katajanokka Harbour and the West Harbour will serve truck and trailer traffic on passenger ships, while the Vuosaari Harbour will primarily serve container, truck and trailer traffic, as well as project loads.

The Vuosaari Harbour will continue to receive the majority of growth in cargo traffic.

No major mutual changes in the traffic directions and modes of transport are expected to take place within the programme period. Rubber-wheeled transport to and from Estonia and Germany is expected to continue to develop in a positive direction, while Swedish traffic is expected to remain steady. Significant growth is expected in container traffic.