Published: 15 February 2021

Regular Finnish merchant fleet decreased slightly in 2020

At the end of 2020, the size of the Finnish registered merchant fleet was 1,243 vessels. They are divided into the regular merchant fleet (engine-powered vessels with a length of 15 m or more), small vessels (engine-powered vessels with a length under 15 m) and barges and other engineless vessels. The regular merchant fleet included 680 vessels and the number of small vessels was 285. The number of barges and other engineless vessels was 278. The gross tonnage of the entire registered merchant fleet was 1,861,656. The share of gross tonnage of the regular merchant fleet was 1,727,356, that of small vessels was 4,742 and that of barges and other engineless vessels 129,558.

Finnish registered merchant fleet at the end of the year 2000–2020

Finnish registered merchant fleet at the end of the year 2000–2020

The size of the registered merchant fleet decreased by three vessels compared to the end of 2019. The regular merchant fleet decreased by seven vessels, the number of small vessels increased by one and that of barges and other engineless vessels grew by three vessels. In total, the gross tonnage of the registered merchant fleet decreased by 0.6 per cent. The gross tonnage of the regular merchant fleet decreased by 0.6 per cent and that of small vessels grew by 0.9 per cent. Despite the increase in the number of vessels, the gross tonnage of barges and other engineless vessels decreased by around 1.2 per cent.

Regular merchant fleet

At the end of 2020, the regular merchant fleet comprised 680 ships with a combined gross tonnage of 1,727,356. The regular merchant fleet can be divided into four main categories, which are passenger ships, dry cargo ships, tankers and other vessels. In addition to pure passenger ships, the main group of passenger ships includes ro-ro passenger ships, the main group had 250 ships and a gross tonnage of 627,018. Dry cargo ships include ro-ro cargo ships, bulk carriers, container ships and other dry cargo ships, the main group had 144 vessels and a gross tonnage of 838,567. The main group of tankers consists of oil, gas and chemical tankers, the main group had 10 vessels and a gross tonnage of 180,453. The main group of other vessels includes, for example, tugboats, icebreakers, pusher lighters, fishing vessels and administrative vessels, the number of vessels of the main group was 276 and the gross tonnage 81,318.

The regular merchant fleet by main group in 2000 to 2020

The regular merchant fleet by main group in 2000 to 2020

Passenger ships numbered 196, ro-ro passenger ships 54, ro-ro cargo ships 44, bulk carriers 10, other dry cargo ships 90, tankers 10, special vessels 176 and other vessels 100. Measured by gross tonnage, the largest vessel type groups were ro-ro passenger ships and ro-ro cargo ships. Ro-ro passenger ships and ro-ro cargo ships make up almost two-thirds of the tonnage of the entire regular merchant fleet.

The size of the regular merchant fleet has decreased during 2020 both measured by gross and net tonnage and by the number of vessels. The number of ro-ro cargo ships has grown by two during 2020. The number of vessels belonging to the category passenger ships, ro-ro cargo ships, other dry cargo ships, special vessels and other vessels has decreased by nine in total from one year ago. The numbers of tankers and bulk carriers have remained unchanged. As a whole, the gross tonnage of the regular merchant fleet decreased by 9,928 during 2020.

Table 1. Regular merchant fleet at the end of the year 2018-2020

Vessel type Year
2018 2019 2020
Amount Gross tonnage Amount Gross tonnage Amount Gross tonnage
Merchant fleet total 688 1,715,772 687 1,737,284 680 1,727,356
Passenger ships 200 23,198 197 23,088 196 23,082
Ro-ro passenger ships 54 582,121 55 604,149 54 603,936
Ro-ro cargo ships 44 532,039 42 509,021 44 511,702
Bulk carrier ships 11 108,012 10 106,356 10 106,356
Other dry cargo ships 93 207,846 94 230,558 90 220,509
Tankers 10 182,031 10 182,031 10 180,453
Special purpose ships 171 66,787 177 67,782 176 67,421
Other ships 105 13,738 102 14,299 100 13,897

Most of the regular merchant fleet belongs to the 1A Super or 1A ice class according to gross tonnage. In practice, the tonnage of ro-ro passenger and cargo ships, bulk carriers and tankers belongs to these ice classes as a whole. Ice classes II and III refer to vessels that do not meet the requirements of the ice class regulations. Ships with ice class II may be eligible for icebreaker assistance under mild ice conditions if they have sufficient deadweight. Ships with ice class III are never eligible for icebreaker assistance.

The average age of Finland’s regular merchant fleet is 51 years at the end of 2020. When the age is proportioned to the gross tonnage, the average age is 20 years. So, large ships are, on average, newer than smaller ships. Relative to the gross tonnage, the newest vessels are bulk carriers. Their relative average age is only seven years. The next newest are tankers with an age of 15 years and ro-ro cargo ships with an age of 17 years relative to the gross tonnage. Passenger ships are the oldest, their average age both proportioned and not proportioned to the gross tonnage is 60 years.

Register of Merchant Vessels

Of the vessels registered in Finland, the Register of Merchant Vessels contained 112 vessels at the end of 2020. A majority of the vessels entered into the Register of Merchant Vessels were other dry cargo ships, ro-ro cargo ships and special vessels. There were 35 other dry cargo ships, 29 ro-ro cargo ships and 21 special vessels. By gross tonnage, the largest group was ro-ro passenger ships and ro-ro cargo ships, whose combined gross tonnage was around two-thirds of the entire tonnage of the Register of Merchant Vessels.

Vessels in the regular merchant fleet and in the Register of Merchant Vessels by gross tonnage and vessel type 31.12.2020

Vessels in the regular merchant fleet and in the Register of Merchant Vessels by gross tonnage and vessel type 31.12.2020

Small vessels, barges and other engineless vessels

At the end of 2020, there were a total of 285 small vessels. The gross tonnage of the vessels was 4,742 in total. Most of the small vessels, 129 or almost one half, were passenger ships. The number of small vessels increased by one during 2020, there were two more vessels belonging to the category other small vessels, and one less passenger ship at the end of the year.

At the end of 2020, there were a total of 278 barges and other engineless vessels. The gross tonnage of barges and other engineless vessels totalled 129,558. The number of barges and other engineless vessels grew by three vessels during the year, but the gross tonnage fell by 1,593.

Table 2. Small vessels and barges and other engineless vessels year 2018-2020

Vessel type Year
2018 2019 2020
Amount Gross tonnage Amount Gross tonnage Amount Gross tonnage
Small vessels total 283 4,659 284 4,702 285 4,742
Fishing vessels 46 617 46 617 46 617
Tugboats 38 620 38 620 38 620
Small dry cargo vessels 11 165 12 186 12 195
Small passenger vessels 131 2,415 130 2,385 129 2,386
Other small vessels 57 842 58 894 60 924
Barges and other engineless vessels 269 134,395 275 131,151 278 129,558
Barges 238 129,450 245 126,176 248 124,583
Dredgers 31 4,945 30 4,975 30 4,975

Vessel mortgages

For the entire registered merchant fleet, 429 vessel mortgages with a total value of EUR 3,009 million had been confirmed at the end of 2020. Vessels in the regular merchant fleet had 301 mortgages with a combined value of EUR 2,789 million. Measured in euros, ro-ro cargo ships and ro-ro passenger ships had the most mortgages among vessels in the regular merchant fleet. Small vessels had a total of EUR 11 million in vessel mortgages and engineless vessels had EUR 209 million.

Structure of the merchant fleet

In Finland, the entire registered merchant fleet comprises the regular merchant fleet, small vessels and barges and other engineless vessels. Vessels are registered based on their domicile either in the register maintained by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom or the register of ships maintained by the State Department of Åland. The regular merchant fleet comprises vessels with a length of 15 metres or more that have an engine. Small vessels refer to vessels with a length of under 15 meters, but at least 10 meters, that have been voluntarily entered in the Finnish Transport Register or the register of ships. Barges and other engineless vessels refer to vessels that run without machine power regardless of size. These include barges and other engineless vessels such as dredgers.

According to the Act on Enhancing the Competitiveness of Ships Engaged in Sea Transport (1277/2007), financial support can be granted from state funds to ships registered in the Register of Merchant Vessels. A passenger ship, cargo ship, tugboat or pusher tug that is intended to be used primarily in foreign traffic during the year of support and that is registered in Finland can, upon request, be entered into the Register of Merchant Vessels.


Source: Transport and Tourism, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Olli Kajava 029 551 3531, Matti Kokkonen 029 551 3207, olli.kajava@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Tables

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Updated 15.2.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Merchant Fleet [e-publication].
ISSN=2670-1669. 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.4.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/klaiv/2020/klaiv_2020_2021-02-15_tie_001_en.html