Last year, a record number of passengers used the services of Estonian ports. In 2017, nearly 10.9 million passengers visited Estonian ports by international transport, which is 3% more than in 2016. The growth was mainly due to a gradual increase in the number of passengers travelling between Estonia and Finland, which reached 9 million. 160,000 more passengers arrived from Finland and 114,600 more passengers departed to Finland compared to 2016. Between Estonia and Sweden, 1.3 million sea passengers were transported, i.e. 7% more passengers compared to the previous year. 592,300 cruise passengers arrived by sea, i.e. 19% more than the year before. Three out of four passengers used Estonian ships in international sea traffic.
The number of passenger ship calls at Estonian ports in international sea traffic was around 6,170, i.e. 1% less passenger ships (incl. ro-ro passenger ships) than in 2016, and 326 cruise ships (285 in 2016) called at Estonian ports. On international routes, around 2 million vehicles (excl. transit vehicles) were served by ports; 71% were passenger cars and 26% were trucks and trailers.
On main national ship lines, around 2.4 million passengers were transported, which is 7% more than in 2016. On those lines, 899 ship trips more were made than in 2016 (in 2016, there were over 15,200 trips, and in 2017, over 16,100 trips). On main national lines, approximately 1.02 million vehicles were served, i.e. 85,700 more vehicles than in 2016.
In 2017, Estonian ports handled 34.8 million tonnes of cargo, which is 3%, or 1.2 million tonnes more than the year before. 23.5 million tonnes of goods were loaded and 11.3 million tonnes of goods were unloaded in Estonian ports in 2017. 4% more goods were loaded and 2% more goods were unloaded than in 2016. In 2017, 114 more cargo ships called at Estonian ports than in 2016. The average gross tonnage of cargo vessels totalled about 11,100.
Transit goods were loaded and unloaded in ports in the amount of 17.9 million tonnes, which is 1% less than in 2016. 12.7 million tonnes of transit cargo were loaded and 5.1 million tonnes unloaded at Estonian ports. The most frequently handled group of transit goods at Estonian ports was refined petroleum products (11.4 million tonnes), although the transport of these products decreased by 5% in a year. The loading and unloading of chemicals and chemical products as transit goods amounted to 4.7 million tonnes, which is 5% more than the year before. In addition to transit goods, 10.7 million tonnes of goods were transported abroad through ports and 6.2 million tonnes of goods arrived at Estonian ports, which is respectively 9% and 10% more than in 2016. Goods transported abroad through ports were mainly a mixture of types of goods transported together (3.1 million tonnes) and products of forestry and logging (nearly 2.2 million tonnes). Goods that arrived at Estonian ports included primarily a mixture of types of goods transported together (3.1 million tonnes) and products of mining and quarrying (1.4 million tonnes).
Sea container transportation through ports (expressed in TEUs) increased by 13% compared to the previous year, amounting to around 230,400 TEUs in 2017. The number of containers shipped out of Estonian ports on vessels was around 111,900 TEUs, and the number received at Estonian ports was nearly 118,500 TEUs.