Port of Tallinn’s most important events and projects in 2020

Here’s an overview of the most remarkable events and important projects for Port of Tallinn Group in 2020:



The stand-out key word for 2020 all around the world is coronavirus. The global pandemic has also left its mark on the activities of the Port of Tallinn on all levels and in every relevant field. Our employees’ work routine has been altered drastically – operational staff must especially mindfully adhere to safety requirements and use personal protective equipment, office staff find themselves splitting working time between office and home office. The passenger field is affected the most and we had to react to changes quickly – ship schedules changed on a daily basis, we reinstated border control, tested with thermographic cameras, enforced social distancing, disinfected our facilities, etc. Next to cancelled visits to our cruise ships and notably fewer passengers on every route there have been a few positive aspects as well – cargo volumes in 2020 were larger than the year before, a record number of boat trips took place between Estonia and Finland in the summer, new ship routes were temporarily opened outbound from both Old City Harbour and Paldiski South Harbour, and ferry traffic recuperated surprisingly quickly following springtime restrictions.


Dredging at Paldiski South Harbour

On March 17, dredging and broadening of the entrance channel to Paldiski South Harbour was completed, resulting in the channel’s new declared depth of 15.5 m based on the EH2000 system. The channel measures 180 meters in width instead of the former 120 meters. Dredging of the entrance channel to Paldiski South Harbour has placed us in a better competitive position and, moving forward, we can now enable oil product handlers to welcome bigger ships.


Our cruise terminal received a cornerstone and hosted a topping out celebration

In 2020 we placed a cornerstone for the cruise terminal erected by the sea and celebrated the terminal’s topping out. The multifunctional and environmentally friendly cruise terminal is built in the immediate vicinity of the cruise ship piers already in place at the Old City Harbour. Along the shoreline and from the future cruise terminal’s roof level to the tip of the pier a promenade and green areas perfect for leisurely walks are established as open to all.

Tallinn Old City Harbour’s cruise terminal was designed by Salto Architects in cooperation with Stuudio Tallinn. Engineering design was realised by Sweco Projekt AS and electrical installations were designed by Rausi OÜ, while the terminal is built by YIT Eesti AS. Construction of the new cruise terminal is planned to be completed in July 2021.


Construction of the cargo check-in building at Muuga Harbour was completed

In June, vessel traffic was restored on the Muuga-Vuosaari route and we opened a new service building with a spacious parking lot to provide better services to shipping companies and truck drivers. Muuga cargo check-in building is the first energy class A building in the Port of Tallinn. Solar panels were installed on the roof of the building and heating is ensured by an air-source heat pump.


Pikksilma promenade by the seaside

In June, construction of the seaside Pikksilma promenade was completed in the Old City Harbour as an extension of Reidi Tee road towards the piers of the Old City Harbour. Pikksilma promenade is 100 m long and 15 m wide; the new promenade added nearly 1,000 m2 to Estonian mainland. Pikksilma promenade is a perfect spot for walkers, cyclists, and exercise lovers alike to enjoy wonderful maritime weather and breath-taking views of Tallinn Bay.

The landscape architect for Pikksilma promenade was Kersti Lootus with Lootusprojekt OÜ, the design was prepared by Estkonsult OÜ, and construction was implemented by YIT Eesti AS in cooperation with its subcontractors.

The Port of Tallinn sought to bring Tallinn’s city centre to the harbour and shape the historical Old City Harbour into a meeting venue where passengers and locals alike would feel at ease spending their leisure time.


Electronic general meeting of shareholders and Investor Days

In 2020 we used electronic voting as an innovative approach to holding the general meeting.

Electronic votes could be cast June 22 through June 29 and this was the first known occasion in the history of Estonian publicly traded companies where shareholders could express their opinion by electronic means only. In this manner, shareholders of the Port of Tallinn adopted resolutions to approve the 2019 annual report, distribute profit, pay a total of 30,245 million euros in dividend, and elect a new supervisory board.

In September, we hosted our always popular Investor Days where we provided an overview of our economic performance and spoke of the effects of the coronavirus, pending developments, and our future plans.


Icebreaker MSV Botnica broke ice in the Canadian Arctic

For the third year in a row, multifunctional icebreaker MSV Botnica that belongs to the Port of Tallinn’s subsidiary TS Shipping operated as an escort vessel for Panamax cargo ships in the Canadian Arctic. Work in Canada this time was carried out under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic on that side of the ocean as well, leading to a somewhat shorter-than-planned operation time for the vessel and extraordinary conditions for the change of crew which took place in Greenland rather than Canada. During the winter period, December 20 through April 20, TS Shipping Ltd. fostered a contract with the Maritime Administration of Estonia for the provision of ice breaking services in Estonian coastal waters.


Environmental campaigns – Baltic Sea Day, Seabin, cigarette butts, The Sea Starts Here

One of the Port of Tallinn’s sustainable development goals is clean Baltic Sea. During the summer period, the marine litter collection system Seabin was installed in the Old City Marina to help collect domestic waste from water. Environmental Management students at Tallinn University sent related collected data to the global project’s database for environmental education related purposes. For a clean Baltic Sea it is important to fight pollution caused by cigarette butts – a discarded cigarette butt thrown on the ground oftentimes ends up in the sea, polluting up to 100 litres of water. Within the framework of the campaign against cigarette butt pollution the marking “The Sea Starts Here” was placed on rainwater hatches in the Old City Harbour and Ballot Bins, ashtrays with a question on them encouraging smokers to vote by putting their cigarette butt in the slots underneath their preferred answer, were placed on TS Laevad ferries. On the World Cleanup Day, the Port of Tallinn group employees collected nearly 10,000 cigarette butts from the Old City Harbour area and its vicinity, which will be re-utilized for an art project. In August we celebrated the Baltic Sea Day with the Finnish Institute, the Embassy of Finland, and the City of Tallinn.


Opening of stage II of PK Terminal at Muuga Harbour

In July 2020, construction of a 16,000 m² PVC warehouse was completed at Muuga Harbour on the registered immovable at Virna 1 as well as the construction of another two 4,000 m² PVC warehouses on the registered immovable at Koorma 2. The warehouses are to be used for storing a variety of bulk, and long-term agreements have been concluded with customers.


The only cruise ship visit to Saaremaa Harbour

The Port of Tallinn’s only cruise ship visit in 2020 took place on July 28 to Saaremaa Harbour. The cruise that sailed out from Helsinki, Finland brought 1,023 passengers to Estonia’s biggest island on board Tallink vessel Victoria I. In the harbour and during bus tours valid safety requirements and social distancing rules were employed.


Terminal D opened for business

On July 31, 2020 we opened the updated Terminal D building at the Old City Harbour. The Estonia’s largest sea gate that services nearly six million passengers gained an all new 21st century look. The total area of the building that uses a number of environmentally friendly energy solutions was expanded nearly twofold reaching 14,000 square meters.

Passengers stepping into the Terminal are greeted by a spacious atrium, stores, cafes, updated ticket booths and check-in as well as an interactive wall dedicated to Estonian tourist attractions. On the Terminal’s third floor “Under the Sun”, a work of art by Eveli Varik, sets the mood in the passengers’ lounge.

Solar panels have been installed on the roof of Terminal D, enabling energy to be drawn partially from renewable sources. To reduce the need for cooling, the building was equipped with double-skin facade. In the building’s interior design we used real wood and wildlife – a multitude of plants and decorative trees. The construction of Terminal D was the first project for the Port of Tallinn where we deliberately demanded that BIM (building information modelling) technology be applied, and we used the information obtained to ensure design and construction quality as well as to reduce later administrative expenditure.

Reconstruction of Terminal D commenced in the summer of 2018, the building’s architectural and interior architecture related project was prepared by architects with R-Konsult under the leadership of Irina Raud. The structure and special parts of the building were designed by SWECO Projekt AS, while Rausi OÜ designed electricity, low current, and automated features.


We commenced construction of the Old City Harbour bridge

We commenced construction of the bridge over the Admirality Basin Channel at the Old City Harbour and the cornerstone for the bridge was set in August. The conceptual design for the movable bridge unique in Estonia is based on the plan of “New Balance 100”, the winner of the design contest organised by the Port of Tallinn in 2017 submitted by the company SIA Witteveen + BOS Latvia and architect Robert-Jan van der Veen with the architectural bureau Plein06. The bridge is built by KMG Inseneriehituse AS.

The bridge is part of the Old City Harbour development plan “Masterplaan 2030+” that helps make the grand entrance to our country and capital city more user-friendly and render the entire harbour area more attractive.


Estonia’s first hybrid ship Tõll began servicing customers

The Port of Tallinn’s subsidiary TS Laevad took an important step in 2020 towards a cleaner Väinameri Sea, abandonment of fossil fuels, and achievement of zero emissions. Starting from September 2, 2020, passengers traveling on the Virtsu-Kuivastu route are serviced by Tõll, a vessel remodelled as the first hybrid ship in Estonia. The ship’s battery banks enable it to sail partly on electricity, thereby reducing the amount of diesel fuel, air pollution and noise. TS Laevad is planning to employ hybrid technology on other new ferries in the company’s fleet.


Passenger ships were connected to shore power

The objective of the Port of Tallinn is to ensure clean high quality ambient air in its areas of operation. We installed shorepower equipment on five piers in the Old City Harbour for the use of ships sailing the Tallinn-Helsinki route and the Tallinn-Stockholm route. The first vessels to connect to shore supply were Tallink Victoria I and Eckerö Line Finlandia. Tests are underway to connect Baltic Queen, Silja Euroopa and Viking XPRS.

The Port of Tallinn’s shorepower system was designed in adherence to the latest international shorepower standard. A vessel’s crew uses a remote control to connect the ship to shore supply. All following processes to switch the vessel over to shorepower take place automatically and without interruption, without human intervention.

The shorepower solution helps us improve air quality and reduce vibration and noise at the harbour as well as in the urban surroundings. The shorepower solution was built by AS Elero. Engineers with Scaleup (Shore-Link) helped in developing the comprehensive solution. Substation equipment and automatic equipment were supplied by ABB AS’s power network unit ABB Power Grids Estonia AS.


Old City Harbour’s new gangway is ready for use on pier 12

Following the commission of the gangway, passengers traveling on Eckerö Line’s vessel Finlandia can now board and leave the ship through two doors, making passenger flow more convenient. Similar features have already been in use for some time on piers No. 5 and No. 13 that serve Tallink and Viking Line ships.


Reconstruction of pier 13 and commission of a new adjustable ramp at Muuga Harbour

An adjustable ramp is now ready for use at Muuga Harbour on pier No. 13. The ramp and the pier’s new fenders come in handy in better servicing of ro-ro ships on pier 13. The ramp’s load bearing capacity is 100 tons. The pier is used by Eckerö Line’s vessel Finbo Cargo that sails on the Muuga–Vuosaari route.


Designing of a Rail Baltica freight terminal commenced at Muuga Harbour

Within the framework of designing Rail Baltica’s largest freight terminal that is also its only freight terminal connected to a harbour, approximately 35 km of new railway with a track gauge of 1,435 mm is planned for Muuga Harbour and, furthermore, approximately 11 km of railway with a track gauge of 1,520 mm will be relocated and built. Muuga freight terminal designer SWECO Projekt AS will also be tasked with designing the connecting roads between terminals as well as related infrastructure (railroad tunnel, catenary, traffic control systems, control centre, rolling stock maintenance depot).

The Muuga freight terminal will be one of the most important sites for Rail Baltica, benefitting from a unique infrastructure setting which in servicing the exchange of goods between Central and Southern Europe enables operative transshipment of goods from maritime transport and road transport to rail transport with varied track gauges and vice versa. Design work will be ongoing from September 2020 to the second quarter of 2022 and stage one of construction is planned to commence in the beginning of 2022. Construction on Rail Baltica’s Muuga freight terminal should be completed by the end of 2025. In the years following the completion of Rail Baltica an estimated 4–5 million tons of goods a year will move through the multimodal freight terminal at Muuga Harbour.


The supervisory board renewed the contracts of Management Board Members

The supervisory board of AS Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn Plc.) in its meeting on September 29, 2020 decided to renew the authorisations of the Chairman of the Management Board Valdo Kalm and Management Board Member / Chief Financial Officer Marko Raid for another three-year term starting from expiry of their previous term: Valdo Kalm’s new term runs from March 1, 2021 to February 28, 2024, while Marko Raid’s new term runs from January 18, 2021 to April 17, 2024. The Management Board of the Port of Tallinn has three members and next to the two above noted members includes Management Board Member / Chief Commercial Officer Margus Vihman with regard to whom renewal of authorisations was not yet discussed as his existing contract remains valid until October 31, 2021.


Construction was completed on the parking structure at Terminal D

At the end of 2020, construction of a parking structure with one below-ground and four above-ground levels was completed in the immediate vicinity of Terminal D. The parking structure provides direct access to Terminal D for convenient boarding. The parking structure accommodates up to 400 vehicles, and 40 charging stations for electric cars are also planned for the structure. The parking structure was built by AS Merko Ehitus Eesti. The objective of the Port of Tallinn is to cut down on the number of parking areas in the public space and establish more opportunities to design an attractive cityscape.


Testing of automated docking equipment on piers 5 and 12 at the Old City Harbour

To increase efficiency and cut costs, harbours across the world are looking for ways to automate their work as much as possible. The automated vacuum mooring systems set up in the Old City Harbour help speed up docking operations, spare human resources, and protect the environment. The operation of vacuum mooring systems is based on a vacuum device installed on a pier that uses its large arms equipped with vacuum pads to grab a vessel’s hull and keep the vessel floating at the pier by establishing a vacuum couple. Automated docking equipment is installed on piers 5, 12, and 13 at the Old City Harbour by Trelleborg and Cavotec and said equipment will be used by ships sailing on the Tallinn-Helsinki route. By the end of 2020, the equipment was fully tested on piers No. 5 and No. 12.


Digitalisation of HR management

In 2020, a new working time tracking software Stafflogic was introduced across the Port of Tallinn group. The new software enables specialists to plan and amend in a simple and quick manner their team’s working days or shifts and to monitor accumulation of overtime and under-time. Furthermore, a new Port online learning environment was set up, gathering all things related to e-learning, video materials, and recorded training courses in one place. The objective of the online learning portal is to enable everyone to learn and acquire new knowledge just when and where it suits them best and at the speed just right for them. To make sure digitalisation of the company’s processes and operations reaches each and every employee, 14 training courses on basic computer skills were held in 2020 with the participation of 124 employees. We continue to look for and introduce more convenient and more efficient solutions in the new year as well.


The Port of Tallinn mapped its ecological footprint

The quickening of climate change is one of the most significant environmental issues and challenges in today’s world. It has been agreed in the European Green Deal that climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050. To find out how to achieve climate neutrality, we must understand the nature of our carbon footprint today and identify the main sources of carbon – only thereafter can we think about how to bring these numbers down step by step. In cooperation with the Estonian Maritime Academy we calculated the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in the Port of Tallinn harbours and in the group’s companies based on data from 2019. To assess the GHG emission of the Port of Tallinn, existing data on direct and indirect emission sources was collected, a survey was conducted among the Port of Tallinn’s operators and tenants, a query was made with the Road Administration as pertaining to vehicles, information was collected on train traffic, and data from different maritime databases was used to determine the emission in the Port’s waters of vessels that visit the Port of Tallinn. Within the Port of Tallinn group (Port of Tallinn, TS Laevad, TS Shipping), as related to the group’s activity, the total GHG emission amounted to 27,069 tons in CO2 equivalents. The GHG emission related to the Port of Tallinn’s harbour operations in a wider sense amounted to a total of 97,426 tons in CO2 equivalents. Most of the GHG emission related to the Port of Tallinn harbour operations came from vessel traffic (53%), followed by electricity consumption (23%), emission from vehicles (11%), heat consumption (10%), and stationary equipment (3%). Next to launching of the Port of Tallinn’s strategic plans and large-scale environmental projects, each and every employee must contribute on a daily basis to clean environment and saving of energy and resources.


The largest freight volumes of the past five years

The coronavirus pandemic has left its mark on the world at large as well as the life and economy in Estonia. In spite of the difficult situation, the Port of Tallinn as one of the few among the harbours on the Baltic Sea has successfully increased freight volumes transiting through its harbours. Freight volumes for nine months of 2020 increased nearly 9% as compared to the year before and, if this growth continues, we would exceed 21 million tons by the end of 2020. This would constitute the best result of the past five years. The largest part of the Port of Tallinn’s freight volume consists in liquid cargo which underwent the greatest growth in 2020 among all the cargo types serviced in our harbours.

Updated strategy 2021–2025

The Supervisory Board of Port of Tallinn approved the updated strategy of the company for 2021–2025. The strategy focuses on fulfilling the company’s vision to become the most innovative port in the Baltic Sea region along with meeting the expectations of the owners and keeping the dividend promises, and ensuring high corporate culture and sustainable development.

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