Port of Tallinn might need 3rd cruise ship quay

While finding its quay capacity to be sufficient for the next five years, Port of Tallinn does not rule out the possibility that a third quay for cruise ships will have to be built in addition to the 421-meter quay Number 2 completed at the Old City Port last spring.

Ain Kaljurand, CEO of the state-owned port company, told BNS he believes that the present quays provide the company with sufficient capacity to accept all cruise ships that wish to come here in the next five years.

Tallinn is capable already now to accept all cruise ships that can enter the Baltic Sea.

“If necessary, we can build additional quay-meters, we haven’t locked ourselves out in that respect with what we’ve built so far,” Kaljurand said.

He said cruise operators have had good words to say about the investments made by Port of Tallinn in cruise ship quays.

“We have understood that this is necessary, as ships have become bigger and our previous infrastructure would not have enabled us to accept all ships and we would have had to refuse some arrivals. And when you refuse one arrival, a snowball effect will follow and at one point you have missed tens of ships perhaps just because you refused one ship,” he said.

While it’s difficult to offer any forecasts as regards developments on the cruise market, right now this sector is in stable development and the Baltic Sea remains a popular destination, according to Kaljurand. Despite the sanctions and global crisis in a sense, there has been no sign of s setback,” he said.

He said executives of the port who recently arrived from the world’s largest cruise fair in Miami described the situation of the cruise market as quite the opposite to a crisis. “The Baltic Sea is generally very attractive for cruise operators and passengers. The Baltic Sea is made attractive first and foremost by St. Petersburg, without St. Petersburg we would definitely be marginal in terms of market share,” Kaljurand said.

Port of Tallinn expects 490,000 cruise tourists and 292 cruise ships to visit the Estonian capital in 2015. For the cruise port of Saaremaa Island six ship calls have been booked involving about 3,500 passengers. Pullmantur, which uses Tallinn as turnaround port, has cut the number of turnarounds here to three this year from five in previous seasons.

Source: BNS via Estonian Review

Production increased in manufacturing and energy production

According to Statistics Estonia, in February 2015, the production of industrial enterprises increased by 5% compared to February of the previous year. Production increased in manufacturing and energy production, but decreased in mining.

In February, the production in manufacturing increased 6% compared to the same month of the previous year. The growth in production volume was caused primarily by an increase in the manufacture of electronic and wood products, where production rose 24% and 14%, respectively. In February, among the branches of industry holding larger shares, the production rose in the manufacture of food and metal products and electrical equipment. Production growth was not broad-based – in February, more than half of the branches of industry did not achieve the volume of the previous year. Among the branches of industry holding larger shares, the volume of production fell in the manufacture of chemical products, building materials and plastic products.

71% of the whole production of manufacturing was sold on the external market in February. Compared to February 2014, export sales as well as domestic sales of manufacturing production rose about 3% according to unadjusted data.

In February 2015 compared to January 2015, the seasonally adjusted total industrial production increased by 2%, manufacturing production by 1%.

Compared to February 2014, the production of electricity increased by 8% and the production of heat by 1%.Diagram: Volume index and trend of production in manufacturing


Read more from Statistics Estonia

In February the retail sales of goods was 267 euros per inhabitant

According to Statistics Estonia, in February 2015 compared to February of the previous year, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises increased 8% at constant prices. In January the retail sales increased 5% compared to the same month of the previous year, while in February the growth in retail sales accelerated.

In February 2015, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were 350.9 million euros, which was 267 euros per inhabitant.

The growth of retail sales in stores selling manufactured goods accelerated significantly compared to the previous months. In the previous three months (November–January), the retail sales of those stores showed a stable 7–8% growth year over year, whereas in February the growth was 13%. The acceleration of retail sales growth in stores selling manufactured goods was partly influenced by the very low reference base of February of the previous year.

In February, the retail sales via mail order or the Internet increased the most, with sales increasing 41% compared to February 2014. A higher than average increase occurred also in other specialised stores, such as stores selling computers and their accessories, photography supplies, books, sports equipment, games and toys etc. (20% growth) and in stores selling second-hand goods and in non-store retail sale (stalls, markets, direct sale) (19% growth).

The retail sales in grocery stores have been rather stable in recent months. In February, the retail sales of these stores increased 4% compared to February of the previous year.

The retail sales of automotive fuel increased 6% at constant prices compared to February 2014.

Compared to January, in February, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises decreased 7% at constant prices. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data, the retail sales stayed at the same level compared to the previous month.

In February, the turnover of retail trade enterprises was 416.8 million euros, out of which the retail sales of goods accounted for 84%. Compared to February 2014, the turnover increased 6% at constant prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator decreased 6%.Diagram: Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend

The statistics are based on the questionnaire “Turnover”, the deadline of which was 15 March 2015, and on VAT declaration data from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. Statistics Estonia published the monthly summary in 11 working days.

Source: Statistics Estonia

The quality of the loan portfolio of the banks continued to improve

Loans and leases were issued to Estonian companies and households moderately in February, which is common at the start of the year. The financing portfolio grew by relatively little over the month, and stood at 15.3 billion euros at the end of February.

The annual growth in the corporate loan and lease portfolio was 3.3% in February. The 704 million euros of new loans and leases to companies was around one tenth more than was issued in February last year. Financing in recent months has mainly been for companies in real estate, manufacturing and trade. Some 70% of the total value of long-term loans issued in February went to companies in these sectors.

The volume of new housing loans issued during the month was about the same as a year earlier. The annual growth in the portfolio was 2.9% in the first two months of the year. The volume of other household loans has remained the same for a long time now at 1.4 billion euros.

Average interest rates on loans have been affected in the second half of last year and the start of this by the decline in the 6-month EURIBOR, which is the base interest rate for most loans. The average interest rate for housing loans issued in February fell to 2.2%, while the average interest rate for corporate loans has remained at 2.5% in recent months.

The quality of the loan portfolio continued to improve in February. Loans overdue by more than 60 days were lower in volume than in January, accounting for 1.6% of the loan portfolio at the end of the month. The quality of loans to trading companies has declined slightly in recent months, though this has been offset by an improvement in the quality of other loans.

The annual growth of household and corporate deposits was 5.5% in February, similar to what it had been in the previous month.The growth in deposits was mainly driven by an increase in household deposits. There was little change in the volume of corporate deposits in February and annual growth in them remained at 2% for the second consecutive month. Non-resident deposits increased modestly in February and they remained at 21% of the total of corporate and household deposits.

Source: Bank of Estonia
Author: Mari Tamm, Financial Sector Policy Division of Eesti Pank