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Published: 26 February 2020

Gross tonnage of the regular Finnish merchant fleet increased in 2019

At the end of 2019, the size of the Finnish registered merchant fleet was 1,246 vessels. Of these, 687 vessels belonged to the regular merchant fleet and 284 to the small vessels fleet. The number of barges and other engineless vessels was 275. The gross tonnage of the entire registered merchant fleet was 1,873,137. The share of gross tonnage of the regular merchant fleet was 1,737,284, that of small vessels was 4,702 and that of engineless vessels 131,151.

Finnish registered merchant fleet at the end of the year 2000–2019

Finnish registered merchant fleet at the end of the year 2000–2019

The size of the registered fleet increased by six vessels. The regular merchant fleet decreased by one vessel, the number of small vessels increased by one and that of barges and other engineless vessels increased by six vessels. The gross tonnage of the entire registered merchant fleet grew by a total of one percent, that of the regular merchant fleet by 1.3 percent and that of small vessels by one percent. Despite the increases in the number of vessels, the gross tonnage of barges and other engineless vessels decreased by 2.4 percent compared to the end of 2018.

Structure of the registered merchant fleet

In Finland, the entire registered merchant fleet comprises the regular merchant fleet, small vessels and barges and other engineless vessels. Vessels are registered based on their domicile either in the register maintained by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom or the register of ships maintained by the State Department of Åland. The regular merchant fleet comprises vessels with a length of 15 metres or more that have an engine. Small vessels refers to ships with a length of under 15 meters, but at least 10 meters that have been voluntarily registered in the Finnish Transport Register or the register of ships. Barges and other engineless vessels refer to vessels that run without machine power regardless of size. These include barges and other engineless vessels such as dredgers.

According to the Act on Enhancing the Competitiveness of Ships engaged in Sea Transport (1277/2007), financial support can be granted from state funds to ships registered in the Register of Merchant Vessels. A passenger ship, cargo ship, tugboat or pusher tug that is intended to primarily be used in foreign traffic during the year of support and that is registered in the Finnish Transport Register or the register of ships can, upon request, be entered into the Register of Merchant Vessels.

Regular merchant fleet

At the end of 2019 regular merchant fleet included 687 vessels. There were 197 passenger ships, 55 ro-ro passenger ships, 42 ro-ro cargo ships, 10 bulk carrier ships, 94 other dry cargo ships, 10 tankers, 177 special vessels and 102 vessels in the category other vessels. The biggest categories by gross tonnage were ro-ro passenger ships and ro-ro cargo ships. The gross tonnage of ro-ro passenger ships and ro-ro cargo ships was more than half of the tonnage of the entire regular merchant fleet.

The size of the regular merchant fleet has grown in 2019 measured by gross tonnage, although the number of vessels has decreased by one. The number of ro-ro passenger ships, other dry cargo ships and special vessels has increased by a total of eight vessels during 2019. The number of vessels belonging to the category passenger ships, ro-ro cargo ships, bulk carriers and other vessels has decreased by nine from one year ago. The number of tankers has remained unchanged. As a whole, the gross tonnage of the regular merchant fleet increased by 21,512 during 2019.

Table 1. Regular merchant fleet at the end of the year 2017-2019

Vessel type Year
2017 2018 2019
Amount Gross tonnage Amount Gross tonnage Amount Gross tonnage
Merchant fleet total 686 1,619,051 688 1,715,772 687 1,737,284
Passenger ships 206 25,378 200 23,198 197 23,088
Ro-ro passenger ships 49 534,252 54 582,121 55 604,149
Ro-ro cargo ships 45 525,799 44 532,039 42 509,021
Bulk carrier ships 10 88,057 11 108,012 10 106,356
Other dry cargo ships 89 183,341 93 207,846 94 230,558
Tankers 10 182,031 10 182,031 10 182,031
Special purpose ships 168 65,942 171 66,787 177 67,782
Other ships 109 14,251 105 13,738 102 14,299

A majority of the regular merchant fleet’s gross tonnage belongs to the IA Super or IA ice class. In practice, the total gross tonnage of ro-ro passenger and cargo ships, bulk carriers and tankers belongs to these ice classes. Ice classes II and III refer to vessels that do not meet the requirements of the ice class regulations. Ships with ice class II may be eligible for icebreaker assistance under mild ice conditions if they have sufficient deadweight. Ships with ice class III are never eligible for icebreaker assistance.

The average age of Finland’s regular merchant fleet is 50 years. When the age is proportioned to the gross tonnage, the average age is 19 years. So, large ships are, on average, newer than smaller ships. Relative to the gross tonnage, the newest vessels are bulk carriers. Their relative average age is only six years. The second newest are tankers and ro-ro cargo ships, about 15 years. Passenger ships are the oldest, their average age both proportioned and not proportioned to the gross tonnage is 60 years.

Register of Merchant Vessels

At the end of 2019, the Register of Merchant Vessels contained 116 vessels. A majority of the vessels entered into the Register of Merchant Vessels were other dry cargo ships, ro-ro cargo ships and ro-ro passenger ships. There were 38 other dry-cargo ships, 29 ro-ro cargo ships and 15 ro-ro passenger ships. In terms of gross tonnage, the largest categories were ro-ro passenger ships, ro-ro cargo ships and other dry cargo ships. The gross tonnage of ro-ro passenger ships and ro-ro cargo ships was two-thirds of the entire tonnage of the Register of Merchant Vessels.

Vessels in the regular merchant fleet and in the Register of Merchant Vessels by gross tonnage and vessel type 31.12.2019

Vessels in the regular merchant fleet and in the Register of Merchant Vessels by gross tonnage and vessel type 31.12.2019

Small vessels and barges and other engineless vessels

At the end of 2019, there were a total of 284 small vessels. The gross tonnage of the vessels was 4,702. Most of the small vessels, 130 or almost half, were passenger ships. The number of small vessels increased by one during 2019 and, there were one more dry-cargo ship and one more ship belonging to the category other small vessels, and one less passenger ship at the end of the year.

At the end of 2019, there were a total of 275 barges and other engineless vessels. The gross tonnage of the barges and other engineless vessels was 131,151. The number of barges and other engineless vessels grew by six vessels, but the gross tonnage fell by 3,244 during the year.

Table 2. Small vessels, barges and other engineless vessels at the end of the year 2017-2019

Vessel type Year
2017 2018 2019
Amount Gross tonnage Amount Gross tonnage Amount Gross tonnage
Small vessels total 296 4,816 283 4,659 284 4,702
Fishing vessels 54 691 46 617 46 617
Tugboats 39 632 38 620 38 620
Small dry cargo vessels 11 165 11 165 12 186
Small passenger vessels 136 2,525 131 2,415 130 2,385
Other small vessels 56 803 57 842 58 894
Barges and other engineless vessels 259 136,720 269 134,395 275 131,151
Barges 228 131,775 238 129,450 245 126,176
Dredgers 31 4,945 31 4,945 30 4,975

Vessel mortgages

For the entire merchant fleet, 444 vessel mortgages with a total value of EUR 2,786 million had been confirmed at the end of 2019. Vessels in the regular merchant fleet had 308 mortgages with a combined value of EUR 2,573 million. Measured in euros, ro-ro cargo ships and ro-ro passenger ships had the most mortgages among vessels in the regular merchant fleet. Small vessels had a total of EUR 12 million in vessel mortgages and barges and other engineless vessels had EUR 202 million.


Source: Transport and Tourism, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Matti Kokkonen 029 551 3770, Sami Lahtinen 029 551 3207, matti.kokkonen@tilastokeskus.fi

Director in charge: Mari Ylä-Jarkko

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Tables

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Updated 26.2.2020

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Merchant Fleet [e-publication].
ISSN=2670-1669. 2019. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.5.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/klaiv/2019/klaiv_2019_2020-02-26_tie_001_en.html