Whenever you try to depict the market, the deeper you go, the more vibrant and complex it all appears. Therefore, there is always a need for strict guidelines, unbreakable principles and necessary simplifications.
Here is a list of basic justifications to what we have included in the netwoks, and why:
Baltic Sea Region (BSR) borders
Due to some ambiguities and an always open question on the real geographic border of the Baltic Sea, we would like to make clear that for us - the BSR as nine countries featuring their coast line at the Baltic Sea. These are in alphabetical order: Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
Formally the Baltic Sea boundary leads from the Skaw (Skagen) till the skiers of Pater Noster. Therefore, two huge ports which in fact lie on the border of two seas, i.e. Aarhus and Gothenburg, are generally perceived as the Baltic ports. Various transport modes have their own specifics, but in ro-ro/ferry and container sectors we have no doubts to include all Swedish and Danish ports into the BSR statistics and network. Hence, inclusion of e.g. Hirsthals and Esbjerg (West Denmark) or Strömstad and Wallhamn (North-West Sweden). The reason for this is that practically all of their cargo goes to/from their domestic markets, meaning they serve the region no matter if located directly at the Baltic or at the North Sea. This rule does not refer to the German North Sea ports, so here we conut only the ones on the East side of Jutland peninsula as ‘Baltic’.
As for Russia – even though the Baltic sea constitutes a little part of the country’s total coastline (37,653 km) we have always been on the standpoint of enclosing its European part into the Baltic region at least down to its capital city, so 750 km from the Russian Baltic sea coast. St. Petersburg has historically been competing with other East Baltic countries to serve Moscow and it has recently experienced another strong rival in Ust-luga. Of course, we also take into account Kaliningrad Oblast, which today appears to be a separate market for itself with no significant transit to the mainland Russia.
All traffic to/from and within the Baltic
As you can easily notice, the networks show broader view than the above mentioned geographical restrictions would normally allow. The clue is that we have investigated not only intra-Baltic connections, but also the ones that directly link the Baltic with other European areas. Therefore each presented shipping service has been shown in its full route (or loop) till the last port of call where you need to tranship cargo to another vessel in order to take it further. It means that the German North Sea ports, as well as more distant locations outside of the Baltic (in Europe and beyond) are listed only because they are on the way of services from at least one of the ports we count as Baltic. Similar background comes for the rail connections, which have been marked to the last location possible to be reached without the need for reloading.
No industrial shipping, no pure passenger lines
As our goal is to help international logistics sector streamline their freight flows, the maps cover only open access services, which means you will not find here dedicated industrial shipping lines nor trains closed for other cargo.
Passenger traffic is an important factor in the ferry sector and we decided to dedicate some part of this yearbook to this topic. Yet, as this is a freight oriented publication, we decided to skip pure passenger lines (e.g. Linda Line between Helsinki and Tallinn) or short cruises (Birka Line from Stockholm to Ålands).
Only active regular traffic
In order to give a reliable portray of the competition in the region, the census marks only regular services, both on sea and on land. Daily, weekly or any “x-days” frequency is not of crucial importance, but drawing lines with occasional calls due to momentary market demand would distort the real picture. The same rule has been used for rail traffic. Most of the listed sea ports feature rail tracks and trains can be organized for specific shipments, but at the same time the market already shows a modest array of shuttle trains transporting containers, roll-trailers (or both) on a fixed schedule. Again - daily, weekly or any other time interval - is not of prime importance for us, nor the exact character of the service being accurately ‘shuttle’ or ‘block’. What matters here is regular ability to carry cargo on the given route and their open access.
Finally, we are presenting only services that are currently active with their routings valid for this very moment. This means that we do not show anything “planned to be open” or “planned to expand soon”.
No slot agreement connections
All the maps and schedules show locations called at by vessels (or trains) in service of the given operators, and thus they may sometimes differ from commercial offers which quite often involve subcontracted carriers. We believe that drawing slot based connections would create an image of an exaggerated competition and artificial multiplication of lines to each and every destination
A part of the Baltic ro-ro/ferry & container yearbooks
The interactive maps portal is a part of the bigger BALTIC YEARBOOK projects, published by Baltic Press on an annual basis, which is our attempt to gather all possible information about liner shipping and intermodal services in one place.
Baltic ro-ro/ferry yearbook and Baltic Container Yearbook deliver overall reviews of the current trends, analyses of shipping operators, lines and the fleet, ports and terminals, with an extended view into land transportation, all backed up with statistics, tables and printed maps.
Please find more info on Baltic Ro-ro/ferry Yearbooks here:
More info on Baltic Container Yearbooks here:
We would like to thank all of the ports, terminals, shipping and rail operators community for their help in making this project come to life, as well as all our sponsors and supporters from other sectors. Without you, all this would have never happened.
Please find a list of ro-ro/ferry project partners here:
All the networks have been confirmed when only possible. However, there is always a field for incorrectness and imprecision. We will therefore appreciate your feedback, suggestions and all arguments that might help us make this portal better.
If you wish to share your views, or - as the market changes continously - you know about any services needing any update, please do not hesitate to contact us at:
tel. +48 58 627 23 94, +48 58 627 23 95
BTJ Editorial Team