Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

Maritime logistics

Vision 2030

Maritime logistics will be globally competitive, safe and sustainable.

The graph illustrates the main operations of the sector in the different zones of the marine area today and in 2030 

Before After


Maritime logistics include all maritime transport and the related shipping lanes, ferry routes and anchoring areas, as well as harbours and, in part, the land logistics routes leading to harbours.

Around 80% of Finland’s exports and imports take place by sea. The total amount of sea freight is largest in the Gulf of Finland. Passenger transport is also concentrated in the Gulf of Finland. Of the 36 ports on the Finnish coast, the busiest ports in terms of passenger volumes are Helsinki, Turku and Maarianhamina (B11).

The logistics network of shipping routes and ports extends from the open sea to the coast and is intertwined with the transport system created by all modes of transport. Safe and efficient shipping routes enable transport and freight, as well as laying the foundation for other industries, such as tourism and fishing.

Icebreaking is a key part of shipping lane maintenance. Dredging and land mass deposition are also part of the construction and maintenance of shipping lanes and ports (B42).


Ports are an integral part of maritime logistics. Key export ports are logistical hubs whose operations include ship loading and unloading, towing, icebreaking and passenger services. Shipping companies are also part of the port ecosystem (Leino et al. 2018). The development of ports also includes the construction of port yards and docks.

The extent of port areas ranges from 1 to 15 kilometres from the shore to the sea. The construction and maintenance of shipping lanes and ports require frequent dredging and deposition operations, because safe, reliable and effective routes, ports and logistics connections, as well as the fleet, lay the foundation for operations. The basic preconditions for the reliability of, and security of supply for, year-round transport include icebreaking, piloting, port operations and an efficient land transport network (B18). A favourable economic situation is a general precondition for the business-cycle-dependent sector.

The management of emissions and other harmful environmental impacts (e.g. alien species) in a sensitive marine area sets limits for maritime transport. Other environmental challenges in the development of shipping lanes and port areas include the placement of land to be dredged and deposited (B42). The minimisation of accident risks also guides operations in the field in a key manner.


The shipping lanes have been developed in line with the increase in the volume of maritime transport.

    – Preparations are made to respond to increasing maritime transport volumes

    – Shipping lanes are developed to better serve increasing maritime transport

    – The increased need for shipping lane maintenance is taken into account

    – As far as possible, dredging masses are used in deposition operations and in other sectors (incl. bird islets, artificial islands for wind energy, the extractive industry)

    – The development of the TEN-T network is taken into account

    – Design and construction of the Helsinki–Tallinn tunnel is sustainable

Successful responses to the changing area needs of ports

– Preparations are made for the concentration of ports and a reduction in their number

– Land connections for logistics are being developed

– The increased area needs of ports are taken into account

– Waste management is improved at ports

 The maintenance of the infrastructure related to small boating enables operational development

– The needs of small boating are examined separately from other maritime logistics, and its operating conditions are safeguarded

– Changes in the ice conditions and the possible extension of the small boating season are taken into account

– Recycling opportunities in marinas will be improved

 Finland leads the way in the transformation of maritime transport

– With regard to shipping lane and port operations, preparations are made for electrified and autonomous maritime transport and for port operations

– The testing of new technologies will be enabled in marine areas

– Preparations are made for digital signage for shipping lanes


Effective dialogue has been created with nature conservation operators

– Possible means of remediation and compensation in connection with infrastructure projects will be determined in the sector

– The impacts of maritime transport on sensitive areas are examined and reduced

Maritime logistics serve the growing tourism sector

– The service level of main shipping lanes will be improved to safeguard favourable conditions for tourism (large passenger ships need their own jetties and facilities)

– The possibility of winter shipping lanes is examined to enable year-round tourism in the archipelago

Maritime logistics work safely under the supervision of the authorities

– The safety of maritime transport is ensured, as well as the operating capacity of the authorities (even in crisis situations)

– The significance of supervision by the authorities is emphasised (incl. the prevention of oil spill accidents)

Background information

Synergies and conflicts

View the Synergies and conflicts table for all industries.

Ecosystem services

The maritime logistics sector primarily uses the sea/maritime ecosystem as a transport platform. For passenger transport, the state of the marine ecosystem is significant, as are cultural services, such as experiences and sea landscapes.


Access to utilised ecosystem services is affected by the sea surface level and land uplift (dredging of shipping lanes), as well as effective maintenance and regulation services.


– Maritime logistics will become an increasingly important sector as transport volumes grow, particularly in Southern Finland. The sector is affected by the development of technology and digitalisation, for example.

– The size of ships is likely to increase, which will require the expansion and deepening of shipping lanes and ports. This will also increase dredging and dumping of dredged material. 

– Automatisation, data transfer and digitalisation are increasing. Shipping lanes and ships communicate with each other, and traffic control is increasingly automated. However, personnel are still needed in the steering of ships.

– Ports will be concentrated, their role will become stronger, and their service provision will increase. – Port areas are expanding, and the automation and robotisation of their operations, such as freight handling, are being developed. Artificial intelligence and wireless data transfer will enable reduction of costs. Small ports may specialise or become tourist ports.

– Emission limits for ships are reflected in the use of fuels and the construction of new ships, for example, with regard to hull design and propeller technology, among other aspects. The management of wastewater and ballast water will be improved. In addition, the circular economy is better taken into account by investing in ship maintenance and the reuse of materials.


– Because of the growth in maritime transport, the pressure on the environment is increasing, and the need for coordination with other sectors and marine systems is growing. The adverse impacts of dredging are sought to be mitigated through better planning. Land masses can be used to create bird islets or artificial islands suitable for wind farms, for example.

– Increasing traffic may result in increased risk of accidents.

– As a result of climate change, the iceless season will become longer, and the need for icebreaking will decrease.

– Maritime transport enables tourism in marine areas. The service level will be improved in the main shipping lanes, and natural harbours will also be needed. Winter tourism in the archipelago can be promoted by paying attention to the provision and maintenance of winter shipping lanes.

– If implemented, the Helsinki–Tallinn tunnel will affect maritime logistics.