In the first quarter of 2020, 4.8 million tonnes of cargo and 1.6 million passengers passed through the harbours of Estonia’s Port of Tallinn.
Compared to the same period of the previous year, the cargo volume increased by two per cent but the number of passengers decreased by 13.3 per cent. The number of ship calls also decreased by 2.9 per cent to 1,585.
Port officials said that, in terms of passenger numbers, the results of Q1 2020 were mostly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic that broke out in March and the related special measures established in Estonia and neighboring countries, as well as restrictions on passenger transport. The Tallinn-Stockholm route was temporarily closed as of March 15, and passenger traffic on the Tallinn-Helsinki route decreased significantly in the second half of March due to the closure of the Estonian and Finnish borders for passengers.
Operators have also reduced the number of ships sailing on the Tallinn-Helsinki route and their schedules, which in turn decreased the number of vessel calls.
The ban on receiving cruise ship calls during the emergency did not affect the number of passengers in Q1 2020, as the cruise season starts in April.
Freight transport has so far not been significantly affected by the pandemic, but port officials said this could rather have an impact in the coming quarters due to the projected economic downturn. The volume of liquid bulk increased, but the handling of goods continues to be project-based and the quarterly volumes are volatile.
The volume of Ro-Ro cargo increased despite the introduction of Covid-19-related special measures for passenger transport, which applies to Ro-Pax vessels. The slight decrease in dry bulk was due to lower handling of fertilisers and grain.
The volume of containers in units decreased to the levels of 2018.
The decrease in the number of vessel calls is mainly caused by cargo vessels, which was affected by the decrease in the number of container ship calls partly due to the larger ships coming on the route and changes in the voyage schedule.
As several passenger ships were in drydock for maintenance work in Q1 2019, the comparison base for them was lower than usual and therefore the number of passenger ship calls did not decrease significantly in Q1 2020.
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