According to information released by Statistics Estonia on Thursday, in 2018, the number of passengers on Estonia's primary scheduled domestic ship routes increased 3% on year, as did the freight volume of ports in tonnes. International passenger traffic served by Estonian ports, meanwhile, decreased by 1%.
Some 2.5 million passengers were transported on Estonia's primary domestic ship routes in 2018, 67,400 passengers more than in 2017. 471 more trips were made on these routes as well, making for a total of 16,600 trips. Approximately one million vehicles were served on domestic routes, or over 52,100 more vehicles than in 2017. 71% of these vehicles were passenger cars, while trucks and trailers accounted for a quarter of vehicles transported.
Last year, approximately 10.7 million passengers used the services of Estonian ports in international sea traffic, which is somewhat less than in 2017. The drop in passenger numbers is attributable primarily to a decrease in the number of passengers travelling between Estonia and Finland, which totalled 8.9 million. The number of passengers travelling between Estonia and Sweden fell somewhat on year as well, to 1.3 million.
More than two million vehicles were served by Estonian ports in 2018, 71% of which were passenger cars and 26% of which were trucks and trailers. During the 2018 cruise season, which lasted from April through October, a total of 652,790 cruise passengers arrived in Estonia by sea, one tenth more than during the previous season.
Handled cargo volumes up on year
In 2018, Estonian ports handled 35.9 million tonnes of cargo, 1.1 million tonnes more than during the year before. 24.5 million tonnes of goods were loaded and 11.4 million tonnes of goods unloaded at Estonian ports in 2018, indicating increases of 4% and 1% on year, respectively.
A total of 19.1 million tonnes of transit goods were loaded and unloaded at Estonian ports, 7% more than in 2017, including 14 million tons loaded and 5.1 million tonnes unloaded.
The most frequently handled group of transit goods in Estonian ports were refined petroleum products (12 million tonnes), the transport of which increased 6% on year. A total of 6 million tonnes of chemicals and chemical products were loaded and unloaded last year, one fifth more than in 2017.
In addition to transit goods, 10.6 million tonnes of goods were transported abroad via Estonian ports, while 6.3 million tonnes of goods arrived at Estonian ports. Goods transported abroad were primarily a mixture of types of goods transported together (3.3 million tonnes) and forestry and logging products (nearly 2.5 million tonnes). Goods arriving at Estonian ports included primarily a mixture of types of goods transported together (3.2 million tonnes) and producs of mining and quarrying (1.4 million tonnes).
Sea container transportation through ports, as expressed in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), increased by 5% compared to the previous year, totalling 241,000 TEUs in 2018. Containers in the amount of more than 17,480 TEUs were shipped out of Estonian ports, while containers arriving in Estonian ports totalled 123,520 TEUs.
According to the Estonian Maritime Information System (EMDE), in 2018, the largest number of ships to arrive at Estonian ports from foreign ports, which totalled 9,322, were general cargo vessels, including ro-ro passenger ships. 944 liquid bulk carriers, 295 container ships, 159 dry bulk carriers, 117 specialised carriers and 340 cruise ships also arrived at Estonian ports from foreign ports last year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla