Vuosaari 24.11.2008

The Finnish port system has very old traditions. According to the oldest existing documents, towns such as Naantali and Rauma, on the west coast of Finland, obtained harbour rights as early as in the 1440s. The Finnish harbour legislation underwent substantial changes, when in the enactment order of the constitution, the Parliament repealed the privileges of towns to maintain a port, which were based on a solemn declaration given by King Gustaf III on February 23, 1789. At the same time, the private public harbour act was passed.

Administratively, public harbours in Finland are as a rule local institutions or enterprises, but nowadays there are also some joint-stock company ports owned by local authorities and some private public ports. Industrial enterprises own some private industrial ports handling only goods and products from an industrial plant in the immediate vicinity of the port.

Port operators are private companies, most of which provide not only stevedoring operations but also other services related to ports.

The figure below gives a presentation of enterprises operating in ports, enterprises using ports, enterprises providing various services in ports and authorities operating in ports.

Interest groups in ports
Port organizations
Port companies
– port authorities and enterprises
– owner companies
Port operators
Users of ports/customers
Shipping companies
Haulage companies
Receivers of goods
Service producers
Service and repairs
Seamens’ service and mission
Frontier guard

About 85 percent of Finnish foreign trade is seaborne, and so trade and industry and the rest of the community are very dependent on operations in ports. Finland has a total of about 50 ports handling foreign trade transports, and of these some ten are in the Lake Saimaa district. The target is to secure year-round services to 23 winter ports. The biggest ports in 2011 were Kilpilahti 18,4 million tons, HaminaKotka 13,1 million tons, Helsinki 11,1 million tons, Kokkola 7,3 million tons and Naantali 6,7 million tons.

Links to Finnish ports, port operators and other service producers on Internet at Finnish Port Operators Accosiation, www.finnports.com and www.shipbrokers.fi.