Eastern European Markets

October, the 21st 2009

Cargo volumes in the Baltic Sea ports dropped 0.4% in 2008

Rapid growth in cargo volumes of 2007 gave way to slightly negative volume development in the Baltic Sea region in 2008. The throughput of maritime transports and cargo in the Baltic Sea Region’s ports witnessed two opposing, general trends during the year 2008: the year began with comfortable growth expectations, but ended in an economic recession.

Baltic Sea ports handled a total of 822 million tonnes of cargo, constituting an annual decrease of 0.4% in 2008. International exports decreased by 15.4 million tonnes (-3.3%) while international imports increased by 13.1 million tonnes (+4.6%). As a result of this, the annual change in international traffic was close to zero, namely -0.3%.

Five out of the nine Baltic Sea region countries increased their total cargo volumes in 2008: Germany (Baltic Sea), Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Sweden. In relative terms, the major gainer was Lithuania (+22.0%), whereas Estonia (-19.0%) lost most for the second year in a row.

Increase in liquid bulk and container volumes in the Baltic Sea in 2008

When classified into three basic types of cargo, namely dry bulk, liquid bulk and other dry cargo (e.g. roro-cargoes and containers), only the volumes of liquid bulk increased in terms of international traffic in the Baltic Sea. The annual increase in liquid bulk volumes reached 5% totalling 303 million tonnes in 2008. Dry bulk volumes fell by almost -3% to 190 million tonnes and other dry cargoes by -2% to 253 million tonnes in international traffic.

A total of 7.8 million containers (TEU) were handled in the Baltic Sea ports in international traffic, which was about +5% more than in 2007.

Nearly 91 million passengers in international traffic passed through almost 50 Baltic Sea ports listed in the Baltic Port List in 2008, resulting an increase of less than one per cent.

Major ports maintained their leading positions despite the turbulent year

Primorsk, Saint Petersburg and Gothenburg held again the three top positions in the Baltic Sea with total volumes of 75.6, 60.0 and 43.2 million tonnes of cargo respectively. They were followed by Klaipeda and Riga, replacing Tallinn and Ventspils in top five. The only new entry in top 20 was made by the Port of Kotka.

Among the top 30, the fastest growing ports, in absolute terms, were Butinge (+4.5 million tonnes), Riga (+3.6 million tonnes) and Gothenburg (+2.9 million tonnes). The largest annual decreases took place in Tallinn (-6.9 million tonnes), Gdansk ( 2.9 million tonnes) and Ventspils (-2.5 million tonnes). Among the 20 biggest ports in 2008, 9 ports managed to increase their total volume whereas 11 lost volumes.

The compositions of top lists which depict the development of major ports in the Baltic Sea region have stayed rather stable over the past three years with only a few exceptions.

Middle-sized ports outperformed major ports in many traffic segments

On average, middle-sized ports (handling 5-10 million tonnes of cargo annually) performed best among different size classes in 2008, although the biggest Baltic Sea ports (handling over 10 million tonnes annually) did rather well in the segments of liquid bulk, containers and passenger traffic. The middle-sized ports’ size class was the only group to increase its dry bulk volumes, while the smallest ports (handling less than 2 million tonnes of cargo annually) was the only group able to increase its other dry cargoes (all non-bulk cargoes) in 2008.

Baltic Port List 2008 covers nearly 200 ports in the Baltic Sea region

The Baltic Port List is an annual report monitoring the cargo throughput and maritime traffic of ports in the countries located in the Baltic Sea Region. The report covers 193 ports in nine Baltic Sea states located from northernmost point of the peninsula of Jutland in Denmark towards east. The report also includes statistics from 27 ports in the Danish and German North Sea coast.

You find the Baltic Port List 2007 here

Further information
Johanna Särkijärvi
Project Manager
tel. +358-2-281 3346
Antti Saurama
Head of Unit/Research and Consulting Services
tel. +358-2-281 3341
mobile +358 40 592 4921

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