Passenger traffic picked up from previous year
The Port of Turku is the leading harbour for passenger traffic between Finland and Sweden, and the starting point of a sea route through the world’s most beautiful archipelago to the Åland islands and Stockholm. In normal years, the Port records more than three million passengers who get to enjoy the unique vistas and high-quality services on board the most modern ferries in the Baltic Sea.
In 2021, the passenger traffic in the Port was much livelier compared to the previous year, although the coronavirus pandemic was still clearly reflected in the passenger volumes. A total of 1.4 million passengers travelled through the Port of Turku, up by around 30 per cent on the figures of the first year of the pandemic. In the best summer months, the number of passengers almost rose to the normal level, but the new waves of infections with consequent restrictions pushed the volume for the last months of the year lower than expected. The ferries of both Viking Line and Tallink Silja nevertheless operated as per normal throughout the year, providing passenger services with reference to various restrictions and safety requirements.
The Port of Turku is entering 2022 with strong confidence in growth. In addition to the expected relief with the pandemic, a cause of optimism is the launch of Viking Line’s new vessel Viking Glory at the beginning of March 2022. The company’s new flagship has attracted a great deal of interest in advance, and the ticket sales have proceeded excellently. Viking Glory is expected to increase interest in sea travel on the whole, which will also increase the attraction of the route between Turku and Stockholm. The time for the launch of a new vessel is ideal, as the demand for travel services that has accumulated for two years is beginning to increase. The Port of Turku and both of the shipping companies operating sea connections there – Viking Line and Tallink Silja – are ready to fulfil the expectations of those looking for a vacation at sea.
In addition to regular passenger traffic, the Port of Turku also serves cruise liner traffic in the Baltic Sea. As in the previous year, the coronavirus pandemic, however, cancelled the cruise summer almost completely, and only one of the booked cruise liner calls took place. A record number of cruise ship visits have already been booked for 2022, partly due to the situation in Ukraine. The Port and Visit Turku together use time and resources for strengthening Turku’s role as a port of call for cruise liners. The goal is to increase Turku’s market share in the cruise liner traffic in the Baltic Sea and establish the number of cruise liner calls to a few dozen per summer. In addition to the archipelago and interesting sights in the city, one of the Port’s attraction factors is the possibility to discharge the vessel’s waste water into a fixed sewer connection, which became mandatory for cruise liners at the beginning of June 2021.
The future of the passenger traffic in the Port of Turku also seems bright in the longer term. The completion of the new joint terminal and the construction of the Linnannniemi district around the Turku Castle, including the Museum of Finnish History, will certainly increase the passenger volume travelling through the Port of Turku.
Read the full annual report 2021 (pdf).
Text: Kari Ahonen
Photo: Jarmo Piironen