Cargo traffic between Scandinavia and Russia: a shift from land to sea transport

For 3 recent years the number of cargo transportations between Scandinavia and the Russian Federation has significantly increased. The main trade partner of Russia in this region is Finland – its cargo turnover with the Russian Federation exceeds freight traffic from/to Sweden and Norway by several times.  

After the crisis cargo turnover between Finland and Russia in 2010 was characterized by 60% import increase in comparison with 2009.  In 2010 more than 3 million tons of cargoes were transported by all transport types (road, sea, air and rail transport) to the Russian Federation from Finland (in 2009 only 1,9 million tons were transported). In 2011 the growth of cargo import comprised 13,7% (almost 3,5 million tons).

In the period of 2009-2011 export cargo traffic to Finland slightly increased: +3% in 2010 (in comparison with 2009), +1,4% in 2011 (in comparison with 2010). The total cargo traffic to Finland in 2011 comprised 24 million tons (cargoes were transported by land, air and water).

The leading transport type used to deliver cargoes to the Nordic countries was motor transport. In 2011 motor transport delivered from Finland to Russia 1,65 million tons. Every year this segment of cargo transportations steadily goes up by approximately 100-120 thousand tons. However, the volume of sea carriages rapidly overtakes the volume of road haulage. In 2011 water transport delivered from Finland to Russia 1,36 million tons – it is 20 (!) times more in comparison with 2009.  Having greater volumes of road and rail haulage in 2009, sea carriage has all chances to become as popular as road haulage or even to outrun its volumes.

Sea transport always took leading positions for export cargo transfer, ensuring about 70% of total cargo turnover. In 2010 its volumes slightly dropped down, but in 2011 the volume of sea carriages increased almost by 2 million tons rising beyond 17 million tons. As for road haulage which volumes considerably increased in 2010, in 2011 they decreased up to 2 million tons. This figure is smaller than in 2009.

Taking into consideration all mentioned above, it may be concluded that cargo turnover between the countries of Scandinavia and Russian Federation changes land carriage in favor of sea transport. Having small volume import growth in Russia, in 2011 motor and railway transport decreased cargo export amid stable growth of sea cargo turnover.

 Cargo transfer between Finland and the Russian Federation in 2009-2011 in terms of transport type


Import to Russia

Export from Russia                        
2009, tons2010, tons2011, tons2009, tons
2010, tons2011, tons
SEA73 609 1 064 1121 365 35315 977 07615 454 44617 289 630
RAIL397 795425 638445 4244 991 3955 952 3754 936 620
ROAD1 430 4091 557 702 1 654 6222 290 9532 559 1312 071 694
AIR55524344231 4010
Total1 902 3683 047 695 3 465841232594552396649224297594