The highest passenger numbers in Europe
Helsinki became the busiest passenger port in Europe with 12.3 million passengers. The number of passengers went up by 2.4% from the previous year. Passenger numbers continue to grow on the Helsinki-Tallinn route in particular.
The highest peaks in passenger numbers were hit during the summer season. Thanks to the additional departures nad new vessels, the regular liner traffic was able to offer an abundance of choice. Sea travel was increasingly flexible and versatile. In particular, the number of Asian passengers is notably increasing.
The Port of Helsinki’s market share of the passenger liner traffic in mainland Finland’s sea ports is 79,4%.
Helsinki–Tallinn route the most popular
The route between Helsinki and Tallinn is by far the busiest. In 2017, a total of 9 million ship passengers travelled along this route, which is 3.2% more than the previous year. The increase in the popularity of the route is expected to continue at almost the current rate in the coming years.
Although on a global scale Helsinki and Tallinn are small cities, together they form a ‘twin city’ that functions as a reasonably sized and uniform economic area with its commercial services, work and study opportunities and holiday residences. Helsinki’s West Harbour, the Port of Tallinn and the sea transport between them functions as a bridge for the shared area of business and work.
Other routes are holding up
The number of passengers travelling to Stockholm remained close to the previous years’ level (-0.2%), with 2.3 million passengers.
210,000 people travelled between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg, and the popularity of the route decreased significantly (-26.9%). St. Peter Line did not begin its cruise season until April and only operated a single vessel, unlike the previous years.
The Helsinki–Travemünde route was travelled by 149,000 passengers, which is 4.9% more than the previous year.
|Liner traffic||2015||2016||2017||Change-% 17/16|
|Stockholm||2 356 000||2 340 000||2 335 000||-0,2 %|
|Tallinn||8 403 000||8 735 000||9 012 000||3,2 %|
|St. Petersburg||259 000||288 000||210 000||-27,1 %|
|Travemünde||133 000||142 000||148 000||4,2 %|
|Mariehamn||43 000||40 000||43 000||7,5 %|
|Others||18 000||20 000||28 000||40,0 %|
|TOTAL||11 212 000||11 565 000||11 776 000||1,8 %|
International cruise traffic is breaking records
In 2017, the number of passengers on international cruise ships hit an all-time high. 478,000 passengers visited Helsinki, which is a staggering 16.8% more than last year. The number of cruise ship visits was 266 (+10.8%), which is just below the record figures. However, the number demonstrates that the size and passenger capacity of vessels are growing fast.
Over 82% (+4.6 percentage points) of the international cruise passengers on the Baltic Sea stopped by at the Port of Helsinki. The largest group of visitors came from North America (26%), with Germans forming the second biggest group (25%). Just under 10% of visitors were from the UK, almost 6% from Canada and a little under 5% from Spain.
City centre’s passenger harbours
|Passengers of liner traffic||11 008 000||11 382 000||11 589 000|
|Passengers of international
|436 500||408 900||478 000|
|Vehicles||1 695 000||1 758 000||1 838 000|
|Ship visits||6 220||6 389||6 438|
The majority of passengers travelling through the Port of Helsinki, 11.8 million people, travels with the liner traffic ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn and Helsinki and Stockholm. The fast traffic connections offer excellent possibilities for both work and fun: going on a holiday, commuting, and meeting friends. The effects on tourism in the Helsinki region are significant. In addition to passengers and their vehicles, the ferries transport cargo carried by trucks and trailers. This is an energy-efficient combination.