Marine sector

The Government has adopted Estonian Marine Policy 2012–2020 as a long-term planning basis for the marine sector.
 

The goal of the development plan is to use and maintain Estonia’s marine resources as much as possible and contribute to the development of the marine sector. For that purpose, the development of marine business should be supported, mainly accompanied by the improved safety of vessel traffic and other marine-related activities, the protection of marine and coastal environment and marine cultural heritage.

In 2010, the marine sector contributed 3.61% of employment and 5.5% of added value; harbours were the most profitable.

 

Goals of the marine sector development plan

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is responsible, above all, for the first two priorities of the marine sector development plan.

The development plan will be implemented as a co-operation effort of ministries, according to operational programmes; the current version covers the period of 2014–2016.

  • Entrepreneurship environment in the marine sector is entrepreneur-friendly and competitive at international level.
  • The marine sector is safe, secure and contributes to diminished environmental pollution load.
  • Public sector activities support the development of the marine sector.
  • The marine education, research and development activities of Estonia meet the contemporary level requirements.
  • Coastal life and visiting environment are attractive and facilitate marine tourism and the development of local entrepreneurship and passing marine sector’s cultural heritage along to coming generations.
 

Connections with island
 

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications organises ferry boat traffic between the Estonian counties.
 

In December 2014, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications signed a public service contract with TS Laevad OÜ and OÜ TS Shipping to operate the Virtsu-Kuivastu line between Saaremaa and the mainland and the Heltermaa-Rohuküla line between Hiiumaa and the mainland from 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2026.
The lines will be serviced by 2016-2017. Ferries Leiger, Tõll, Tiiu and Piret were completed in. Tickets for Virtsu-Kuivastu and Heltermaa-Rohuküla routes can be purchased from the carrier's website www.praamid.ee.

Connections with small islands
 

Apart from the organisation of line services, the Ministry also strongly contributes to ensuring ferry boat connections with small islands and improving the quality of carriage services. The vessels have been built to connect with Piirissaare (Koidula vessel), Abruka (Abro vessel), Prangli (Wrangö vessel), Vormsi (Ormsö vessel), Ruhnu (Runö vessel) and Kihnu (Kihnu Virve vessel).

Connections to the smaller islands are provided by regional public transport centers under the Public Transport Act, or by local authorities in case of municipal routes.

More specifically, the North Estonian Public Transport Center provides connection to Vormsi, the Pärnumaa Public Transport Center to Kihnu, the Tartu County Public Transport Center to Piirissaare, Pärnu to Manija, Saaremaa to Abruka and Vilsandi, Tallinn to Aegna and Viimsi to Naissaar and Prangli.

In March 2017, a direct contract was signed in cooperation with the Saare County Government to operate the Ringsu-Munallas, Ringsu-Pärnu and Ringsu-Roomassaare ferry lines linking the island of Ruhnu with AS Kihnu Veeteed from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2022.

These lines will run from May to the end of October with the catamaran-type Runö, a state-owned ship. Tickets for the Ringsu-Munallo, Ringsu-Pärnu and Ringsu-Roomassaare routes are available on the carrier's website at www.veeteed.com 

Additional info

In March 2017, a direct contract was signed in cooperation with the Saare County Government to operate the Ringsu-Munallas, Ringsu-Pärnu and Ringsu-Roomassaare ferry lines linking the island of Ruhnu with AS Kihnu Veeteed from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2022.

These lines will run from May to the end of October with the catamaran-type Runö, a state-owned ship. Tickets for the Ringsu-Munallo, Ringsu-Pärnu and Ringsu-Roomassaare routes are available on the carrier's website at www.veeteed.com

Harbours


Connections with islands are provided, on majority of the lines, via the harbours that belong to a state owned company, AS Saarte Liinid. The task of the enterprise is to manage and develop the harbours and ensure ferry boat connections between the mainland and inhabited islands. AS Saarte Liinid manages 18 harbours.

There are 13 ferry boat harbours: Kuivastu, Virtsu, Heltermaa, Rohuküla, Sviby, Sõru, Triigi, Kihnu, Munalaiu, Manilaiu, Abruka, Laaksaare and Piirissaare.

Regular connections are provided through the following ports: Kuivastu, Virtsu, Heltermaa, Rohuküla, Sviby, Sõru, Triigi, Kihnu, Munala, Manila, Abruka, Laaksaare and Piirissaare.

Larger of these have the conditions for receiving cargo ships. The biggest cargo port of Saaremaa is Roomassaare harbor, where berths for passenger ships, oil tankers, fishing vessels and yachts have been built.

Ringsu and Naissaare harbors are capable of handling both passenger and recreational craft.

 

International vessel traffic
 

Thanks to its geographic location, Estonia has good conditions for developing international passenger ship traffic on both regular lines and services provided to cruiser ships.
 

International passenger ships mainly visit harbours that belong to a state-owned company, AS Tallinna Sadam. The number of passengers that used the services of the company exceeded a record level – 9 million passengers – for the first time in 2013.

AS Tallink Grupp, operating on lines between Estonia, Finland and Sweden, contributes considerably to international passenger ship traffic.

 

Logistics and transit


Two thirds of the exports and imports of Estonia and most of the transit is carried out through harbours.

 

There are currently 27 cargo harbours in Estonia. The most important are Muuga and Paldiski South Harbours, which belong to AS Tallinna Sadam, and northern Sillamäe, Kunda, Pärnu and Paldiski harbours, which are privately owned.

Estonian harbours are competitive. Apart from a good geographic location in the connecting point of transit corridors and good connections with rail and land transport systems, the largest Estonian cargo harbours also enjoy good natural conditions: they are better navigable than many other Gulf of Finland harbours because of milder ice conditions.

The depth of the harbours is also sufficient to receive large vessels, with a maximum total weight of 170,000 tons.

Liquid cargo dominates in the carriage of goods, consisting, above all, of oil products. The volume of oil products has somewhat dropped over the last years. Therefore, there is a goal to diversify the assortment and increase, in particular, the volume of container cargo.

Marine sector

 

Maritime safety
 

The main function of the state is to ensure maritime safety.
 

This will mean the dredging and marking of shipping lanes, organisation of vessel traffic and, for example, the issue of diplomas to mariners. The organisation responsible for maritime safety is the Estonian Maritime Administration.

Pilotage services for safe marine travel are offered by a state-owned company, Estonian Pilot.

International co-operation plays an important role for ensuring maritime safety, protecting the marine environment and for the development of marine sector as an important economic sector. The most important international organisations in the marine sector are the International Maritime Organisation and the Baltic Sea marine environment protection committee, HELCOM. Estonia is a member of both organisations.

 

Last updated: 16 December 2019