It is the largest port authority in Estonia and operates five harbours in the locale of Tallinn on the Baltic Sea. Formerly an operating port type, a restructure in the mid 1990s saw the company become a landlord port by privatising its cargo-handling and leasing its wharves to terminal operators. Port of Tallinn continues to invest in the infrastructure of its harbours whilst leasing operators provide the superstructure.
The company’s five harbours are versatile. With depths of up to 18 metres and navigable waters year-round, they are able to receive any vessels passing through the Danish Straits. Such versatility, and its location at one of the busiest transport corridors in the world, makes Port of Tallinn’s harbours desirable to operators handling all types of cargo and passenger vessels.
Established in 1986 to receive grain, Muuga Harbour is built on Muuga Bay, 17 kilometres east of Tallinn itself. This harbour is responsible for 80 per cent of the company’s cargo volume – 31.6 million tonnes in 2009 – and is the biggest cargo harbour in Estonia. Old City Harbour, the company’s other major dock, is located at the gate to Tallinn’s historic old city. With almost seven million passengers a year coming and going from Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden, it is one of the busiest passenger docks on the Baltic. The port authority owns three other harbours: Paljassaare Harbour located near Tallinn’s modern city centre, Paldiski South Harbour standing 45 kilometres west of the city, and its newest dock Saaremaa Harbour situated on the island of Saaremaa.
Port of Tallinn has had steady year-on-year growth since restructuring, and despite drops in cargo volumes during the economically unstable period of 2008, the first half of 2010 has seen growth in its operating margin. Figures show a 16.5 per cent increase of cargo volumes over 2009. Its continuing prosperity saw the company undertaking a major six-year investment programme across its harbours in 2009. At the core of this investment are Muuga and Paldiski South.
Seventy-five per cent of Muuga Harbour’s cargo is crude oil and oil products with the remaining being largely dry goods such as fertiliser, grain and coal. To increase its capabilities the harbour bears a two-stage extension plan. The first stage began in 2008 and will develop 70 hectares of land, extending the existing quay 16 by 100 metres and constructing a new 378-metre quay. This will result in a doubling of the harbour’s container handling capacity and has been completed in July of 2010. Stage two will see further extensions to existing quays and increase available terminal area by 67 hectares.
Development at Paldiski South focuses on making more efficient the processing capabilities of the harbour with the construction of new berths and a future industrial park. It is the second largest cargo dock owned by the company and has been responsible for roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) cargo, local exports, oil and scrap metal. In recent years it has increasingly become involved with the shipment of new automobiles. In 2009 berths 8 and 9 were built, allowing it to relocate types of goods to specific berths and increasing the efficiency of processing.
There are also plans for redesigning Old City Harbour. Here Port of Tallinn aims to design and establish an integrated multifunctional urban development besides the traditional port functions. This will create a smooth transition between the harbour and the city itself, key to its status as a major tourist gate. This plan is set to begin soon. Old City Marina, opened in May 2010, a recent conversion of a disused terminal in Old City Harbour, provides 62 berthing spaces for smaller vessels and is aimed at travellers and recreational vessels.
In addition to improving its own business areas, Port of Tallinn is also involved in a number of European co-operative initiatives. By networking port authorities throughout Europe, shared data and experiences will help ports grow their infrastructure whilst improving organisational and administrative operations. Because of its contribution to the international market, the European Union (EU) has rewarded the company. Enterprise Estonia, an EU support system for Estonian entrepreneurship, has funded the company’s ongoing participation at trade fairs and exhibitions for two years whilst Cohesion Fund financing has enabled the continuing development of Muuga Harbour.
Port of Tallinn’s six-year strategy of development aims to conclude in 2015 after implementing infrastructural growth that will increase its cargo- and passenger-handling capabilities, further improve the quality of safety and working environment of its employees, and establish an effective principle of minimising environmental impact.
Port of Tallinn
Services Harbour leasing, port infrastructure