Between January and June, the COVID-19 pandemic reduced ship travel through the Port of Helsinki considerably and affected the amount of cargo traffic. The pandemic is also the main reason for the decrease in the company’s turnover during the first half of the year.
The number of liner traffic passengers between January and June was 2.4 million, which is 55.3% less than the previous year.
The traffic through the Port of Helsinki during the first months of the year was almost as expected, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to passenger transport being restricted, and ship travel was halted almost completely in mid-March. In mid-May, some of the travel restrictions were lifted, and the passenger numbers gradually began to recover. Shipping companies introduced new connections in place of Stockholm traffic in particular, which is not expected to start up again until autumn.
The COVID-19 situation impacted international cruise traffic particularly strongly. At present, it is uncertain whether this traffic will be able to start up at all this year.
Less cargo than the previous year
Total cargo traffic through the Port of Helsinki was 6.6 million tonnes (-9.2%) during the first half of the year.
For cargo traffic, the first months of the year were somewhat slow, primarily due to the labour market situation and the COVID-19 situation in China. However, cargo traffic picked up between March and April, when society was preparing for difficulties in delivery on account of the situation. After this, the amount of cargo traffic has been roughly 10% lower than the previous year.
Turnover decreased considerably
The Port of Helsinki Ltd’s turnover for January–June was EUR 33.4 million. It decreased by 26.7% from the previous year. The greatest decrease occurred in passenger transport. The Port of Helsinki expects the turnover for this whole year to amount to EUR 74 million (2019: EUR 95.6 million), which will result in a loss for the company.
The company’s cost structure has been adapted, and savings have been achieved in all cost groups. During the first half of 2020, investments amounted to EUR 10.9 million, but the company has been forced to postpone some of the investments planned for this year to the coming years.
– However, the most important investments, including the deepening of the Vuosaari fairway and sustainable development projects, will be implemented as planned, CEO Ville Haapasaari says.
It is generally assessed that the COVID-19 situation may result in a longer-term economic downturn, which will weaken the future prospects of cargo traffic. For passenger transport, 2021 will also be weaker than usual, particularly with regard to international cruise traffic.
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