Importance of cargo traffic transported via the Port of Helsinki to Finland confirmed

17.1.2022 14:02:51
News
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In 2021, a total of 14.4 million tonnes of goods (+8% compared to 2020) were transported via the Port of Helsinki, and unitized* cargo traffic reached an all-time high. The exceptional circumstances only served to confirm the importance of cargo traffic transported via the Port of Helsinki to Finland.

In passenger traffic operations, the impact of the pandemic was even more evident compared to the previous year in the decrease in passengers.

“The traffic year saw two different trends. Cargo traffic recovered well from the slump caused by COVID-19. We saw strong growth in the amount of rubber-wheeled traffic, and Helsinki strengthened its position in comparison to competing ports,” says Ville Haapasaari, CEO of the Port of Helsinki.
“With regard to passenger traffic, however, the year was even poorer than anticipated, even though ship travel levels picked up again slightly in the autumn.”

Increase in rubber-wheeled traffic

At the Port of Helsinki, cargo traffic also remained busy during the second year of the pandemic, which helped to ensure that consumer goods and raw materials and supplies required for purposes such as industrial operations also remained available in Finland during the exceptional circumstances. 

In Helsinki, the impact of disruptions in global maritime traffic, such as the blockage of the Suez Canal in March, the shortage in containers and the large increase in the prices of container cargo, was mostly evident in the increase in the amount of cargo transported on trailers. 

The Port of Helsinki Group’s total cargo traffic was 14.4 million tonnes (+8%), of which 6.6 million tonnes were import and 7.7 million tonnes were export. 

Most of the goods transported via the Port of Helsinki are unitized cargo for Finland’s foreign trade, i.e. cargo transported on lorries, trailers and containers. The amount of unitized cargo reached an all-time high in 2021, at 12.1 million tonnes (+9.2%). The volumes of cargo transported on lorries and trailers and in containers were 8.4 million tonnes (+15.5%) and 467,000 TEU**, respectively.

Tonnes

2019

2020

2021

Change in %
21/20

Unitized cargo

11,721,000

11,113,000

12,141,000

+9.2%

 Import

5,422,000

5,201,000

5,522,000

+6.2%

 Export

6,300,000

5,912,000

6,619,000

+12.0%

Bulk product traffic

1,717,000

1,371,000

1,376,000

+0.3%

Break bulk

772,000

683,000

719,000

+5.3%

Foreign traffic

14,270,000

13,245,000

14,243,000

+7.5%

Coastal traffic

149,000

63,000

130,000

+106.0%

TOTAL CARGO TRAFFIC

14,419,000

13,307,000

14,373,000

+8.0%

Containers, TEU

534,000

509,000

467,000

-8.3%

Lorries, trailers and other, pcs

601,000

598,000

664,000

+11.1%

Passenger traffic was slow

In the second year of the pandemic, Finland continued imposing strict travel restrictions. Internal border control in the EU’s Schengen area ended on 25 July 2021 but was restarted on 28 December.

In this long-standing difficult situation, the Port of Helsinki continued its efforts to make travel as safe as possible in close cooperation with shipping companies, authorities and other interest groups. 

In 2021, the total number of passengers to pass through the Port of Helsinki was 3,749,000. Liner traffic*** carried 3.7 million passengers, which was clearly less than the number of passengers recorded during the first year of the pandemic, decreasing by 21.4%. 

As usual, the majority of the passengers, 3.2 million (-23%), travelled the route between Helsinki and Tallinn. 

The number of passengers travelling between Helsinki and Stockholm was 399,000 (+6.1%), as vessels were unable to start operating between the capitals of Finland and Sweden until the summer.

The Helsinki–Travemünde route saw 102,000 passengers (+20.7%). There was no traffic at all on the route between Helsinki and St. Petersburg in 2020 and 2021.

Liner traffic

2019

2020

2021

Change in % 21/20

Stockholm

2,262,000

376,000

399,000

+6.1%

Tallinn

8,925,000

4,097,000

3,150,000

-23.1%

St. Petersburg

196,000

-

-

-

Travemünde

158,000

84,000

102,000

+21.4%

Mariehamn

48,000

50,000

72,000

+42.8%

Others

24,000

149,000

16,000

-89.5%

TOTAL

11,614,000

4,757,000

3,738,000

-21.4%

The international cruise traffic season was only able to start at the beginning of August, when restrictions on entry were lightened. Almost 11,000 passengers had the chance to visit Helsinki and the metropolitan area during 14 port calls. 

Traffic in 2022

The positive trend in cargo traffic is expected to continue in 2022. As for passenger traffic, the first part of the year is expected to remain slow due to the ongoing pandemic, but traffic is expected to pick up again closer to the summer.

* unitized cargo = goods transported in large units, such as containers, lorries and trailers.
** TEU = twenty-foot equivalent unit.
*** liner traffic = regular ship traffic that operates according to a schedule, e.g. ferries operating between Tallinn and Helsinki.

Enquiries:
Port of Helsinki Statistics January–December 2021 
mediadesk(at)portofhelsinki.fi, media enquiries by phone during office hours: +358 40 506 5280