Port of Tallinn served record number of passengers in 2012, cargo handling declined as expected

Last year the number of passengers passing through the harbours of Port of Tallinn was a record of 8.84 million passengers which is 4.3% more than a year earlier. As forecast, cargo volume fell 19% in a year to 29.48 million tons. Cargo volume is expected to increase again this year, and the number of passengers continues to grow.

The number of passengers on the Tallinn–Helsinki route grew 4% in a year to 7.26 million people. From January until end of December, 949 882 passengers travelled on the Tallinn–Stockholm route which is 2% more than a year before. The St. Petersburg line carried 184,000 people, an increase of more than 60% from 2011. Cruise vessels brought to Estonia 441,000 cruise tourists that was comparable to the 2011 result.

During the year, Port of Tallinn handled 29.47 million tons of cargo which is 19.2% less than in 2011. The decline in cargo shipments was forecast already when preparing the budget for 2011, mainly due to the decline of liquid cargo by 6.9 million tons, or 26.4%. Dry bulk cargo was down by 1% to 4.03 million tons, mainly in regard to coal, grain and gravel. Volume of fertilizers was up 28%.

The volume of container shipments was at record level last year and reached 228,000 TEUs, or 15.2% more than a year earlier. The volume of rolling cargo went up 3.7% to 3.8 million tons.

Erik Ringmaa, Chief Commercial Officer of AS Tallinna Sadam, said that such decline in cargo volumes was expected. „The reasons – mainly the development of Russia’s own ports and the launch of Ust-Luuga heavy fuel oil terminal – were known already for years,” explained Ringmaa. He added that because of this, Port of Tallinn has made a strategic decision to re-focus on creating an environment around the port that facilitates the diversification of cargo and services, attracts more operators and enables to offer higher value-added services.

„While by tonnage, it’s not possible to rapidly replace liquid cargo by other goods, in the long term, investments made in the infrastructure of Muuga Harbour and Paldiski South Harbour will attract cargo that is notably more diversified than earlier and with added value, generating additional jobs and tax revenues,” explained Ringmaa.

In spite of a decline in the volume of liquid cargo, the operating income of Port of Tallinn has fallen relatively little and sales revenue and profit are in line with the forecast. “For this year, we forecast 4% growth in cargo handling, 5% growth in the number of passengers and 20% growth in operating income,” said Ringmaa. "Operating income is due to grow faster mainly through rent income of icebreaker Botnica, our recent acquisition."

In 2012, the ports of Port of Tallinn were visited by a total of 1966 cargo vessels and 5277 passenger vessels.

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