Better than expected year

Annual report

Port of Turku Ltd’s tenth operating year as a limited liability company was financially favourable although the conditions remained challenging. In spite of the general economic recession and the global crises of recent years, the Port’s operating result was slightly higher than expected. The magnitude of the company’s turnover remained at the same level as before, and the operating profit improved, which indicates that the Port has quickly adapted to the new conditions. As part of that adaptation, change negotiations were carried out in the Administrative Department in January 2023.

Passenger traffic reached its goal

The Port’s traffic volumes were still strongly affected by the war in Ukraine and the exit of Tallink Silja’s m/s Galaxy from the route. Despite a reduction of one vessel, the passenger traffic volume reached the target level of 2.5 million passengers which was down by only 8 per cent compared to the previous year. Viking Line’s passenger volume on the route increased, and Tallink Silja’s passenger numbers were also fairly good towards the end of the year. It was visible that Finnish and Swedish passengers had returned to the route, but as expected, Asian and Russian passengers continued to remain absent from the customer base.

Cargo volume was reasonably high

In cargo transports, the economic recession was visible in the volume of imports in particular. Despite the difficult conditions, the relative cargo volume in the Port of Turku decreased much less compared to many other Finnish ports. Excluding the effect of the absence of m/s Galaxy, the cargo volume in Turku only decreased by around 5 per cent, while the decline in all Finnish ports was on average 8 per cent. Positive development was seen in the rental of warehouse space which acts as one of the cornerstones for cargo transports. The demand for warehouse space continued to increase, which resulted in plans for new investments both by the Port and Turku Free Zone Company which recorded good financial performance.

Carbon neutrality as the focal point of environmental work

The Port of Turku’s environmental work paves the way towards a carbon neutral future. Several steps in that direction were taken during 2023, the most important of which were the engaging to the City of Turku’s climate commitment and the co-operation agreement for creating a green corridor for maritime transports between Turku and Stockholm. The objective of Turku’s commitment is to be carbon neutral by 2029. The common goal of the Ports of Stockholm, Viking Line and the Port of Turku is to make the sea route free from fossil fuels by 2035 at the latest. The agreement was signed officially at the beginning of February 2024.

Town plan for Ferry Terminal Turku was confirmed

The Port’s biggest ever investment, the Ferry Terminal Turku project, moved forward when the Turku City Council approved the proposed amendment of the town plan for Ferry Terminal Turku. The goal of the town plan amendment is to enable the building of the joint terminal for passenger traffic and the moving of railway tracks as well as developing the traffic arrangements and the operations in the port area. The town plan gained legal force in December 2023, which enables the filing of a building permit application in early 2024.

The year ahead gives hope for the better

2024 is still expected to be a challenging year, but the outlook gets more positive as the year goes on. According to forecasts, the recession will end and the economy will take a slight turn upwards, but faster growth is not expected to take place until 2025. The weak international demand weighs down Finland’s exports, and the slowing down of private consumption is also visible in the demand for import items, both of which are reflected in the operation of ports. The effects of the war in Ukraine are still visible in the Port of Turku’s operations, and the tightening situation on the domestic labour market also casts a shadow over the early months of the year.

The Port of Turku nevertheless relies on the Port’s competitiveness which is based on strengths built through long-term work. Flexibility, willingness to serve and quick reactions to the needs of the customers are qualities that make us trustworthy. In addition to our own personnel, I want to thank all our customers and stakeholders for their co-operation in 2023 and wish a successful year 2024 to everyone.


Erik Söderholm
Managing Director of Port of Turku Ltd

Read the full annual report 2023 (pdf).

Photos: Jarmo Piironen & Markku Koivumäki