According to Statistics Estonia, in 2016, the number of international traffic passengers served by Estonian ports increased by 4%, but the freight volume of ports in tonnes decreased by 4% compared to the previous year.
Last year, the year of marine culture, a record number of passengers used Estonian ports. In 2016, 10.5 million passengers visited Estonian ports by international transport, which is 4% more than in 2015. The growth was mainly due to the increase in the number of passengers travelling between Estonia and Finland, where 8.8 million passengers were served. 164,000 more passengers arrived from Finland and 160,000 more passengers departed to Finland compared to 2015. Between Estonia and Sweden 1.2 million sea passengers were transported, i.e. 3% more passengers compared to the previous year. 498,200 cruise passengers arrived by sea, i.e. 1% more than the year before. 7.7 million passengers used Estonian ships in international sea traffic.
The number of passenger ship calls at Estonian ports in international sea traffic was around 6,250, i.e. 4% more passenger ships (incl. ro-ro passenger ships) than in 2015, and around the same number of cruise ships (285) called at Estonian ports as in 2015. On international routes around 1.9 million vehicles (excl. transit vehicles) were served by ports; 71% were passenger cars and 25% were trucks and trailers.
On main national ship lines around 2.3 million passengers were transported, which is about as much as in 2015. On those lines over 400 ship trips more were made than in 2015. In 2015, there were over 14,800 trips and, in 2016, over 15,200 trips. On Estonian national lines approximately 933,700 vehicles were served by ports.
In 2016, Estonian ports handled 33.6 million tonnes of cargo, which is 4% less, i.e. 1.3 million tonnes less, than a year earlier. 8% less goods were loaded and 7% more goods were unloaded than in 2015. In 2016, around the same number of cargo ships called at Estonian ports as in 2015. The average gross tonnage of cargo vessels totalled about 11,000.
Transportation of goods through the ports declined last year due to a decrease in transit cargo. Transit goods were loaded and unloaded in ports in the amount of 18.1 million tonnes, which is 11% less than in 2015. 12.7 million tonnes of transit cargo were loaded and 5.4 million tonnes unloaded at Estonian ports. Transit cargo loading fell by 18%, but transit cargo unloading increased by 14%. The most frequently handled group of transit goods loaded at Estonian ports was refined petroleum products (7.5 million tonnes), although the transport of these products decreased by a third in a year. The loading of chemicals and chemical products as transit goods amounted to 4.9 million tonnes, which is 17% more than the year before. The most frequently handled group of transit goods unloaded at Estonian ports was also refined petroleum products (4.5 million tonnes), which is 14% more than in 2015.
9.9 million tonnes of goods were transported abroad through ports and 5.6 million tonnes of goods arrived at Estonian ports – 9% and 2% more than in 2015, respectively. Goods transported abroad were mainly products of agriculture and forestry (3.2 million tonnes), a mixture of types of goods transported together (2.9 million tonnes) and products of mining and quarrying (1 million tonnes). Goods that arrived at Estonian ports included primarily a mixture of types of goods transported together (2.8 million tonnes) and products of mining and quarrying (1.4 million tonnes).
Sea container transportation through ports (expressed in TEUs) decreased by 2% compared to the previous year amounting to about 204,400 TEUs in 2016. The number of containers shipped out of Estonian ports on vessels was about 100,300 TEUs and the number received at Estonian ports was 104,100 TEUs.