Transport

Due to its favourable economic and geographical position, Estonia has become a transit gateway for east-west as well as north-south trade. Its location is ideal for the creation of efficient transportation links and distribution chains of goods and services for companies in Europe and in other parts of the world.

In 2007 Estonian transport enterprises carried 105,8 million tons of goods (92,6 million in 2006), of which 62,4% by railway (66,1), 36,1% by road (38,2) and 1,5% by sea (1,6).

 Road network

The Estonian road network is comparable to that of the Nordic countries in terms of its density and quality. The infrastructure along the main highways has improved fast as modern gas stations and better roads have been built. The major road transport passages through the country are Tallinn-Narva (Russian border), Tallinn-Tartu-Russian border and Tallinn-Pärnu-Latvian border.

In the beginning of 2008 the total length of the Estonian roads is 57,565, out of which 16 465 km is national roads. 55% of the national roads are paved. The volume of goods carried by Estonian road transport companies was 38,2 million tons in 2007 compared to 30,3 million tons in 2006 and 27.4 million tons in 2005.

Rail system

The total length of the Estonian railway lines in is 1200 km. 133 km is electrified. All bigger towns and centres are united through the railway network, which covers the whole mainland part of Estonia. This creates good prerequisites for the development both for passenger and freight transport on railway. So far, the percentage of the passenger transport by railway has been relatively small, but in the past few years it has shown some stable tendency of growth.

One of the shortest and best developed transit corridors uniting CIS countries and Europe passes through Estonia. Together with ports, railway comprises an important infrastructure for the Estonian economy. The main part of the goods’ volume transported on the railway is transit goods that are transported from Russia to the Western countries. In international goods transportation, railway dominates with 79%, followed by road transport with 17% and sea transport with 4%.

During 1995-2003, the amount of goods carried by railway constantly increased, from 41.2 million tons in 1995 to 72.2 million tons in 2003. In 2004, the amount of freight carried decreased to 65.6 million tons, increased again to 68.2 million tons in 2005, fell back to 61,3 million tons in 2006 and increased again to 66,1 tons in 2007. In recent years petroleum products have trended lower among rail-transported goods, but instead, the amount of coal transported has increased. The amounts of transports of these products are very dependent on investment projects implemented in Russia.

Freight carried by railway, 2000 – 2007 (million tons)

Statistics Estonia

The major freight railway operator is the state enterprise Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railways), formed in 1992. Given its good relations with Estonian ports, neighbouring railways and international expediting companies, Eesti Raudtee is able to offer services, which are fast and secure by European standards. Private freight transporters in Estonia are AS Spacecom and Westgate Transport OÜ.

In passenger transportation the operators are AS Elektriraudetee and Edelaraudtee Ltd . The Tallinn-St Petersburg-Moscow line is operated by Go Rail.

Sea transport

There are 64 ports along the coast of Estonia, 31 of them handle commercial shipping and are open to vessels from other countries. Port of Tallinn is one of the fastest developing ports in the Baltic Sea and an authority managing five harbours:

  • Muuga Harbour – main oil, dry bulk and container port in Estonia, max depth 18m, ice-free
  • Old City Harbour – main passenger port in Estonia, max depth 10.7m
  • Paldiski South Harbour – scrap metal, timber and roro port, max depth 13,5m
  • Paljassaare Harbour – timber, oil, coal max depth 9m
  • Saaremaa Harbour – passenger port, max depth 10m

Other Estonian seaports are Kunda (timber, cement), Sillamäe (timber, metals, oil products), AS Pärnu Sadam (timber, peat) and Paldiski Põhjasadam (timber, vehicles, containers).

Passenger traffic from Estonia to Finland to Finland, Sweden and Germany is organised by several companies and the amount of connections per day is increasing year by year.

The vessel traffic through Estonian ports has decreased a little during past years. In 2007, 14 443 vessels came from abroad to Estonian ports (15 240 in 2006). 8 817 (9 632) of these were passenger vessels. 44,7 (49,7) million tons of goods were transported through ports; the amount has increased more than three times since 1995.  Of the total volume in 2007, oil products accounted for 55,0%.

Transport of goods through ports 2000 – 2007 (million tons)

Statistics Estonia

 Air transport

Tallinn International Airport, renovated in 1999 is open to international and domestic flights. International air links with most Scandinavian and European cities have been established. International flight companies such as SAS, Finnair, Lufthansa, EasyJet, etc are operating through Tallinn Airport. The Estonian national flight company Estonian Air operates four Boeing 737-500 and two Boeing 737-300. In 2007, Tallinn Airport handled 1,73 million passengers (+12,1% to last year) and 22 764 tons of cargo (+119,7%).

It is possible to fly from Tallinn directly to 27 destinations. Estonian Air Cargo represents big European air cargo companies like Air France Cargo and Finnair Cargo. Direct flights by order from Tallinn to Norway, Denmark, England, France, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Germany, Austria, the CIS countries, North Africa and other countries are offered by small private air companies.

Source: Estonian Investment and Trade Agency www.investinestonia.com
Also read section Transport in this blog

Some links:

Eesti Telekom: http://www.telekom.ee/index.php?lang=eng
Elion Ettevõtted: http://www.elion.ee/wwwmain?locale=en
Elisa: http://www.elisa.ee/
EMT: www.emt.ee/wwwmain?screenId=mainpage.private&language=ENG
Tele2: http://www.tele2.ee/
Estonain IT College: http://www.itcollege.ee/?url=overview
The Association of Estonian Information Technology and Telecommunications Companies: http://www.itl.ee/?op=body&id=1

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