In a situation where COVID-19 vaccinations are increasing in Finland as well as nearby areas while new variants of the virus are spreading, Finland continues to limit entry into Finland from other countries. For the Port of Helsinki, passenger traffic did not start to recover during the first half of the year. However, the positive tone of cargo traffic balanced the overall situation of the company.
The pandemic continues to strain the entire tourism business heavily even in 2021. It has been impossible for passenger traffic to recover towards normal in the timespan estimated at the turn of the year.
During the period from January to June, liner traffic carried 995,000 passengers, which was 58% less than the previous year and approximately 81% less than the last so-called normal year, 2019. International cruise traffic and liner traffic between Helsinki and Stockholm remained at a standstill.
Overall, the passenger season this summer has started very quietly due to the restrictions: the number of passengers in June had dropped by 19% compared to June 2020.
The positive tone of cargo traffic continues
The total cargo traffic of the Port of Helsinki amounted to 7.2 million tonnes during the first half of the year, which is 9% more than in the same period in the previous year. Of this amount, 3.2 million tonnes was in import (+3%), and 3.9 million tonnes in export (+15%).
The quantity of unitised cargo traffic* was 6,009,000 tonnes (+9%).
Measured in tonnes, container traffic decreased by 0.5% from the previous year, while rubber-wheeled traffic** increased by 13% from the previous year. Rubber-wheeled traffic has been steadily busy in Vuosaari Harbour in particular.
The lack of containers brought on by the pandemic, as well as the blockage at the Suez Canal in March, have done their share in accelerating the move of cargo traffic to Baltic routes.
The amount of cargo traffic through the Port of Helsinki is expected to rise to the level before COVID-19 by the end of the year.
Turnover lower than the previous year – financial standing remains solid
The turnover of the Port of Helsinki Ltd in January–June was 30 million euros, which is 11% less than the same period in the previous year. The COVID-19 pandemic had a heavy negative impact on the financial status of the company in 2020, and the effects continue to be larger than expected this year.
However, the financial standing of the Port of Helsinki remains solid. The company serves operators specialising in both cargo and passenger traffic, as well as operators producing services in both business areas. This balances the risks of business. When passenger traffic is opened during the second half of the year, the Port will be ready.
*Most of the goods transported via the Port of Helsinki are unitised cargo for Finland’s foreign trade, i.e. cargo transported in containers, trucks and trailers.
**Rubber-wheeled traffic = goods transported in trucks and trailers.
Port of Helsinki Traffic Statistics January–June 2021
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