In 2020 Q4, 5.8 million tonnes of cargo and 0.6 million passengers passed through the harbours of Tallinna Sadam. Compared to the same period of previous year, the cargo volume increased by 2.5% and the number of passengers decreased by 73%. The number of vessel calls declined by 7% to 1768 calls. The number of passengers travelling between the Estonian mainland and the main islands decreased by 10%, but the number of vehicles increased by 3% and the number of charter days of the icebreaker Botnica decreased by 25% compared to the same period of previous year.
In 2020, the total cargo volume of Tallinna Sadam was 21.3 million tons, increasing by 7% compared to the previous year, driven by strong growth in the volume of liquid cargo. The number of passengers decreased by 59% to 4.3 million as a result of the pandemic, while the number of vessel calls decreased by only 9.8% due to the continuation of cargo transportation on the international passenger lines. The number of passengers between the Estonian mainland and the main islands decreased by 18% and the number of vehicles by 8% due to the restrictions related to the pandemic. The number of charter days of the icebreaker Botnica decreased by 5% due to the shorter charter period of the Canadian project in Q4, caused by the decline in the iron ore export volumes related to the impact of the pandemic on the customer’s mining operations.
According to Valdo Kalm, Chairman of the Management Board of Tallinna Sadam, the company’s balanced business model including four business areas has proven itself particularly well in today’s corona era. “Due to the pandemic, our passenger business is suffering significantly, but at the same time the cargo volume has grown strongly reaching a record level of the last five years, shipping business in the form of ferries and icebreaker Botnica has continued on a stable course,” said Kalm.
Cargo volume increased in Q4 and also annually, primarily supported by liquid cargo, due to successful cooperation between the port and operators and their customers. At the same time, liquid cargo products continue to be a project-based rather niche product business, the continuous growth of which cannot be expected. The volume of ro-ro cargo also increased due to the preserved number and frequency of liner vessel calls and a slight increase in the demand of road transport.
The decline in passenger numbers was due to a reduction in people’s confidence and travel due to the constantly changing movement restrictions and instability imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic during the year. “In 2020, we have lost more than half of our passengers, but thanks to state support for passenger operators to maintain the movement of cargo with the same ro-pax vessels, international passenger shipping lines continue operations and ship operators are ready to serve passengers in the same volume again as the situation normalizes. From the new year, we also expect the return of cruise tourists and at least a partial recovery of tourism,” said Kalm.
More detailed statistics of passengers by nationality, gender and routes on monthly basis, can be viewed on the Tallinna Sadam web page: https://www.ts.ee/en/statistics/. We now also publish quarterly key figures 2014-2020 in xlsx format: https://www.ts.ee/en/investor/key-figures/
Detailed statistics on the number of passengers and vehicles on passenger ferries: https://www.praamid.ee/wp/statistics/