Port of Helsinki – one step ahead for sustainability

Helsinki is one of the busiest passenger ports in Europe and the main port for foreign trade in Finland. In 2018, a total of 12.1 million passengers travelled through the Port of Helsinki to destinations such as Tallinn and Stockholm.

A total of 14.7 million tons of goods were transported via the Port. Approximately half of all the general cargo tonnage at Finnish ports travels through the Port of Helsinki. The main export commodities are products for the forest industry, machinery and equipment, whereas in imports the most prominent product group is daily consumer goods.

The Port serves the business world and well-being of the Helsinki region and the whole country and has a significant positive impact related to the economy and employment. Among the strengths of the Port are frequent liner traffic, efficient infrastructure, good road and rail connections, and excellent services provided in cooperation with the Port’s partners.

To be able to operate efficiently, the Port needs to have a proactive and ongoing dialogue with the surrounding community. Traffic, emissions and other side effects demand that a port listens and acts on the feedback received by the many people of the shared neighborhood. “The Port as a Functioning Part of the City” as well as “Pioneer of sustainable development” are included in the six spearhead projects of the company’s new strategy.

One of the Port’s most important ongoing projects is the Carbon-Neutral Port 2035 programme. It aims to cut the emissions of the Port’s own operations, as well as guide other parties in the port area to reduce environmental emissions. Various incentives for noise abatement investments and energy efficiency investments for example play a key role.

The Port takes the environment into account in everything it does. All harbours in Helsinki have environmental permits, which regulate all operations and projects in the harbour area, in accordance with the Finnish Environmental Protection Act.

The Port has comprehensive harbour sewage reception facilities. Each of the quays is equipped to allow direct discharge of wastewater into the sewage network, from where it is transported directly into Helsinki City sewage system.

The Port of Helsinki’s vessel waste management charges are based on the size of the vessel, rather than on whether the vessel is discharging waste at the harbor or not. The Port of Helsinki doesn’t charge separately for discharging of wastewater.

In 2016 the port implemented a price incentive for international cruise ships: a 20% discount on waste management fee if waste water is also discharged at the harbour. And the efforts paid off: already during the 2016 cruise season, waste water was discharged during 90% of vessel calls.

Since 2018 the Port of Helsinki has granted vessel charge discounts on the basis of reduced environmental impacts. The discount is available to those who implement measures that reduce vessels’ environmental impacts: lowered air emissions, noise reduction while in the harbour, or other investments that improve environmental efficiency.