As was expected in the previous edition of the Baltic Yearbook, the past year brought about an across-the-board downturn, cargo- and passenger-wise. That said, there is a stark contrast between these two areas of port business. Whereas freight traffic decreased by a noticeable six per cent year-on-year, the passenger figure was broken in half, down from nearly 120 million ferry & cruise travellers to around 53 million. Cruise traffic - and this is no exaggeration - literally evaporated. What else could be said about a 99% drop? That is why we decided to scrap the tables on cruise traffic altogether.
While the situation remains uncertain, making the end-year outlook vague at best, this year witnessed a fair number of cruise calls around the Baltic, even if it meant blue cruises only in some instances. Judging from the port statistics we have so far published this year on www.baltictransportjournal.com, the cargo market is scrambling to catch up with the 2019 volume. As such, the target of hitting the one billion tonnes mark resurfaced on the horizon.
The port industry has shown admirable grit and resilience once the pandemic has broken out - also in the face of other black swans such as the Suez Canal jam. The regional shipping sector doesn't have to feel ashamed either. After all, who would bring trade to and fro ports if not them? We particularly empathise with companies that used to rely on passenger traffic for their living. We sincerely hope travellers in post-corona times will compensate for the lean years, favouring ferries and cruise ships as their preferred mode of international transportation.
As always, this year's instalment covers the nuts and bolts of the Baltic port market - cargo and passenger traffic by country and individual ports. The reading part includes the traditional round-up of the essential transport & logistics events & trends (technology-dominated) from the Baltic. The pandemic has, it seems, pronounced the urge to undergo a green transition, which is why another read brings closer the new 'portscape' as envisaged by the European Sea Ports Organisation and Deloitte. The original analysis is commendable for accounting that ports in Europe come in different shapes and sizes. The Baltic Sea region is a great 'sample size' for those who want real-life examples, big and small, of tackling overarching challenges like digitalisation or greening port and shipping operations.
Have a great read, but most of all - stay safe and healthy!
Przemysław Myszka, Editor-in-Chief
As always, a Big Thank You goes to our Partners for kindly supporting our work!
Click the image below or the Download PDF button to see the preview of the Baltic Yearbook 2020/21!