Sunday March 07, 2021

Cargo-handling at Helsinki Port drops 8.5% in 2020

Published : 17 Jan 2021, 19:13

Updated : 18 Jan 2021, 10:34

  DF Report

File Photo Port of Helsinki by Veikko Somerpuro.

The Port of Helsinki handled a total of 13.3 million tonnes of cargo in 2020, which was 8.5 per cent lower than that in the previous year.

The first year of the COVID-19 epidemic nearly emptied the typically busy Port of Helsinki of passengers, said a press release of the Helsinki Port Authority.

Nevertheless, the volume of cargo transported through the port, which has an important role in ensuring Finland’s security of supply in these trying times, was almost at normal levels.

The majority of Finland’s consumer goods and certain raw materials and supplies for industrial purposes are transported through the port.

“The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on cargo traffic was less severe than we initially expected,” said Port of Helsinki CEO Ville Haapasaari.

“Port of Helsinki cargo traffic totalled 13.3 million tonnes. Although this is 8.5% less than that in 2019, we are satisfied with it, all things considered,” said Haapasaari, adding that the unitised traffic on the Tallinn route even increased by 6% year on year.

He said in April and May, there was significantly less traffic but towards the end of the year, cargo traffic picked up again and we managed to achieve the volumes of the previous year in the final months of the year.

The volume of unitised cargo traffic transported through the Port of Helsinki was 11.1 million tonnes (-5.9%). Of the total unitised cargo traffic, 5.2 million tonnes was in import (-5.4%), and 5.9 million tonnes in export (-6.4%).

The volumes of cargo transported on trucks and trailers and in containers were 7.3 million tonnes (-4.7%) and 507,000 TEUs (Twenty Equivalent Units), respectively.

In 2020, the number of liner traffic passengers at the Port of Helsinki (which is at the same time the total number of passengers) was 4.8 million (-59% compared with the corresponding figure of the previous year). The majority of the passengers, 4.1 million (-54.1%), travelled the route between Helsinki and Tallinn.

The number of passengers on the Stockholm route plunged, as the ships between the capitals of Finland and Sweden were entirely out of operation from March onwards. The total number of passengers on this route was as low as 376,000 (-83.4%).

The number of passengers on the route between Helsinki and Travemünde was 84,000 (-46.7%). There was no traffic at all on the route between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg. Cruise traffic suffered equally badly, as not a single international cruiser arrived at the port in the entire year.

“Now that the vaccinations against COVID-19 are beginning, we are cautiously optimistic that the restrictions on ship travel will be slowly lifted by the summer, allowing passengers to embark once again. We believe that the year 2021 will be a year of recovery from COVID-19 and we will return to the pre-crisis level in 2023, at the latest,” said Haapasaari.