Published: 20 August 2020

Sea transport decreased by two per cent in 2019

During 2019, the goods volume of foreign sea transport totalled 101.3 million tonnes. Sea transport went down by two per cent from the year before. Exports grew by one per cent and amounted to 53.3 million tonnes. Imports fell by six per cent and amounted to 48.0 million tonnes. A total of 19.1 million persons were transported in passenger traffic, which is about half a per cent more than in 2018. Over 90 per cent of the passengers transported by sea travelled on routes to Estonia and Sweden. A total of 3.3 million transport equipment were transported. Of them, 64 per cent were passenger cars belonging to passengers.

Foreign sea transport (tonnes) 1970–2019

Foreign sea transport (tonnes) 1970–2019

Goods transport

The goods volume of foreign sea transport was in total 101.3 million tonnes. Of this, transit transport made up nine per cent, or nine million tonnes. General cargo was transported most, in total 17.5 million tonnes, followed by 11.9 million tonnes of crude oil. The most imported type of goods was crude oil, which represented 25 per cent of all goods imported by sea. Oil products, general cargo and paper were exported most. These types of goods form 48 per cent of all goods exports in sea transport. The busiest ports for goods transport were Sköldvik, HaminaKotka, Helsinki, Kokkola and Rauma. The largest import ports were Sköldvik, Helsinki, Naantali, Raahe and HaminaKotka. The biggest export ports were HaminaKotka, Sköldvik, Helsinki, Kokkola and Rauma.

Table 1. Volume of goods transported in foreign sea transport by type of goods in 2017 to 2019

Direction and commodity group Year
2017 2018 2019
Export Timber 379,832 839,970 714,705
Sawn wood 4,183,489 3,749,891 3,962,493
Wood pulp 3,339,436 3,600,683 3,874,226
Paper 8,136,067 8,157,124 7,563,773
Plywood and veneers 295,747 259,001 245,719
Ores and concentrates 5,386,047 5,001,231 4,367,797
Metals and metal manufactures 3,223,492 3,338,673 2,887,695
Crude oil - 9 40
Oil products 9,046,997 8,935,661 9,166,173
Coal and coke 257,972 973,354 1,365,453
Fertilizers 2,873,173 3,096,333 3,577,862
Chemicals 3,291,016 3,403,378 3,557,791
Crude minerals and cement 1,191,530 1,150,091 1,454,668
Cereals 622,442 415,069 547,694
General cargo 8,298,230 9,002,069 8,701,379
Other merchandise 957,470 998,984 1,317,860
Total 51,482,940 52,921,521 53,305,328
Import Timber 1,506,548 3,167,139 3,022,638
Sawn wood 18,397 36,216 32,219
Wood pulp 449,514 430,809 309,255
Paper 231,709 208,360 212,113
Plywood and veneers 38,931 32,547 39,346
Ores and concentrates 4,341,494 4,855,165 4,274,233
Metals and metal manufactures 1,352,950 1,279,761 1,370,915
Crude oil 11,270,400 11,889,441 11,939,810
Oil products 4,617,498 4,767,546 4,658,124
Coal and coke 4,277,678 4,254,867 3,407,649
Fertilizers 261,221 256,369 259,915
Chemicals 2,712,816 2,815,815 2,669,110
Crude minerals and cement 4,681,539 4,779,894 4,024,729
Cereals 61,261 124,896 62,498
General cargo 9,072,946 9,214,655 8,877,333
Other merchandise 2,399,911 2,744,086 2,823,196
Total 47,294,813 50,857,566 47,983,083

Goods transport in containers and transport equipment

A total of 13 million tonnes of goods were transported in containers through Finnish ports in 2019. The figure was 1.4 per cent lower than in 2018. The number of containers transported was 922,471 (1,617,879 TEU containers) 1) . Exports of goods transported in containers grew by 1.8 per cent measured in tonnes and imports fell by eight per cent compared with 2018.

A total of 16 million tonnes of goods were transported by goods transport equipment and 1.2 million transport equipment were transported in total. Of goods transport equipment, lorries and lorry trailers were transported most, in all 1.1 million. A total of 45,966 other transport equipment were transported. The volume of goods transported by transport equipment and containers totalled 29.5 million tonnes, which is 29 per cent of all goods transported in sea transport.

Transport performance of foreign sea transport

During 2019, the transport performance of foreign sea transport totalled 231.7 billion tonne-kilometres. The transport performance of exports amounted to 161.1 billion tonne-kilometres and that of imports to 70.6 billion tonne-kilometres. In all, 73 per cent of goods imported by foreign sea transport came from the Baltic Sea states and only five per cent from other than European ports. Altogether 48 per cent of export goods were exported to the Baltic Sea states and 18 per cent were exported outside European ports. Differences in import and export countries are reflected directly in the transport performance. The transport performance grew by 12 per cent compared with 2018.

Exports and imports by area year 2019

Exports and imports by area year 2019

Transit transport

Transit transport through Finnish ports totalled nine million tonnes. Most of this was transit exports, 8.4 million tonnes. Transit imports amounted to 0.6 million tonnes The majority of transit exports consists of ores and concentrates, as well as fertilisers, chemicals and coal and coke. These groups of goods form 96 per cent of transit shipments. Over one-half of transit imports are general cargo. Transit transport went down by half a per cent from 2018. Export transit went up by 1.1 per cent and import transit fell by 19 per cent.

Table 2. Volume of goods transported in transit traffic by type of goods in 2017 to 2019

Direction and commodity group Year
2017 2018 2019
Export Timber 745 938 96
Sawn wood 8,499 15,916 27,703
Wood pulp 3,351 10,517 3,146
Paper 4,553 19,245 29,781
Plywood and veneers 4,351 2,166 1,437
Ores and concentrates 4,392,285 3,947,160 3,147,988
Metals and metal manufactures 20,834 22,845 28,189
Oil products 65,306 66,315 94,598
Coal and coke 62,499 840,139 1,167,260
Fertilizers 1,450,352 1,707,391 2,122,805
Chemicals 1,427,223 1,560,445 1,658,448
Crude minerals and cement 1,315 3,145 883
Cereals 63 2,786 5,044
General cargo 72,274 79,974 93,120
Other merchandise 30,483 24,775 17,013
Total 7,544,133 8,303,757 8,397,511
Import Timber 183 - 24
Sawn wood 7,052 14,499 23,524
Wood pulp 508 1,227 1,056
Paper 9,765 4,789 1,963
Plywood and veneers 3,302 1,582 3,818
Ores and concentrates 316 204 592
Metals and metal manufactures 88,997 72,891 55,518
Crude oil 133 - 14
Oil products 519 235 410
Coal and coke 2,856 1,101 3,166
Fertilizers - 1,203 27
Chemicals 46,304 53,219 48,403
Crude minerals and cement 3,140 9,515 9,021
Cereals 552 331 313
General cargo 612,009 468,014 316,096
Other merchandise 53,914 97,618 126,797
Total 829,550 726,428 590,742

Passenger traffic

A total of 19.1 million persons were transported in passenger traffic in 2019. In all, 9 million persons travelled between Finland and Estonia and 8.6 million between Finland and Sweden. Altogether, 0.2 million passengers were transported between Finland and Russia and 0.2 million passengers between Finland and Germany. The number of passengers grew by about half a per cent compared to 2018. In 2019, a total of 1.2 million passengers of foreign cruise ships arrived in Finland. The number of cruise passengers grew by 16 per cent from the year before. In 2019, a total of 2.2 million passengers’ cars were transported and 40,000 buses and coaches. Transports of passengers’ cars increased by 1.2 per cent and bus transports decreased by 6.6 per cent.

Goods volume in the Saimaa Canal

A total of 980,053 tonnes of goods were transported through the Saimaa Canal in foreign traffic. Timber was transported most in vessels in foreign traffic, in total 403,317 tonnes. The second most transported were crude minerals and cement, 293,273 tonnes. The volume of traffic through the Saimaa Canal decreased by 20 per cent from 2018.


1) TEU, the basic measurement unit of container traffic, refers to one container that is twenty feet long, eight feet wide and 8.5 feet high.

Source: Transport and tourism, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Matti Kokkonen 029 551 3770, matti.kokkonen@stat.fi

Director in charge: Mari Ylä-Jarkko

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Updated

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Foreign Shipping Traffic [e-publication].
ISSN=2670-2002. 2019. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 8.3.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/uvliik/2019/uvliik_2019_2020-08-20_tie_001_en.html