Dramatic fall in cargo volumes in the Baltic Sea ports in 2009 – handling of containers decreased by a quarter

​Significant fall in cargo volumes in the Baltic Sea in 2009 – dry cargoes decreased most

Year 2009 was difficult time for port sector in the Baltic Sea. Most Baltic Sea ports saw decline in cargo volumes and some even record-breaking falls. The total amount of cargo handled in the ports was 10 per cent less than in 2008, amounting to 741 million tonnes in the Baltic Sea ports in 2009. Total cargo volumes decreased in all Baltic Sea countries except Estonia where the annual growth reached 6 per cent. In general, the decrease in international imports was more significant than in exports.  In the Baltic Sea ports, imports decreased 17 per cent and exports 4 per cent in 2009.
Measured by total cargo volumes, Russia became the leading country in the Baltic Sea region, with a share of 23 per cent of total cargo traffic in 2009. Russia was closely followed by the former leading country, Sweden.
There was fall in all cargo types in the Baltic Sea but handling of containers decreased most, by nearly a quarter in 2009. Significant annual decline was also found in international other dry cargo volumes (all cargoes except liquid and dry bulk) that decreased 18 per cent. Liquid bulk was still the largest type of international cargo in the Baltic Sea, totalling approximately 299 million tonnes in 2009. Handling of international liquid bulk cargoes decreased notably less, by around 1 per cent. International dry bulk volumes amounted to around 170 million tonnes in the Baltic Sea ports, and fell by approximately 11 per cent in 2009.
For the third consecutive year, the three leading ports in the Baltic Sea, measured by total traffic volume, remained the same, namely Primorsk, St. Petersburg and Gothenburg. The majority of the top 10 ports were located in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea, and four of these were situated in the Gulf of Finland.  Among the top 30, only seven ports were able to increase their total cargo volumes in 2009.

Two different trends in the Baltic Sea in 2006-2009

The period between 2006 and 2009 witnessed two different economic trends in the Baltic Sea: until first half of 2008 general growth, and after that, a global recession, which had a significant effect on maritime transport in the Baltic Sea. Between 2006 and 2009, the total amount of cargo volume handled in Baltic Sea ports declined by 6 per cent, international exports by 5 per cent and imports by 7 per cent. Over the same period, more than over two thirds of Baltic Port List ports recorded a decline in total cargo volumes.
Measured by the number of ports experiencing their best or worst year in terms of total cargo volumes, countries in the eastern Baltic Sea were the first to suffer from declining cargo volumes. In 2006-2009, for most ports in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia the lowest cargo volumes were recorded in 2006 or 2007, whereas the low point for most ports in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland and Sweden was very clearly 2009.

In 2006-2009, international other dry cargo volumes dropped approximately 15 per cent in Baltic Port List ports, while international dry bulk volumes fell a little less, about 10 per cent. Over the same period, international liquid bulk cargo volumes increased approximately 6 per cent.