Finland is very dependent on the maritime logistics. During the COVID pandemic the role of the foreign service providers, like agents and container shipping companies, has grown. Year 2020 appr. 80% of the cargo flow and the port calls in Finland were made on foreign vessels.

From Kämp to corona – 100 years of maritime logistics

The Finnish Shipbrokers Association, currently Shipbrokers Finland, turns 100 this year. Like the title of pilot, shipbroker is one of the oldest professional titles in Finland. But what exactly does a shipbroker do?

When the history of navigation began, in the era of sailing ships, shipowners also served as the shipmasters, who were responsible for procuring cargo, sailing the ship to its port of destination and handling all ship-related matters at the port. The shipmaster also oversaw the entire trade interaction from the selling of the cargo in the port of destination to the procuring of new cargo for the next leg of the journey.

Secured by Decree

During the 18th century, while Finland was under Swedish rule, specific decrees were issued regarding the operations of the shipbrokers. It was stated then that official shipbrokers would broker contracts concerning the sale and purchase of ships, insurance, marine loans, chartering and freight. Shipbrokers were entitled to receive a brokerage paid for their services.

Only licensed shipbrokers were permitted to carry out ship clearance processes. The shipbrokers were licensed by the magistrate, but the applications were submitted directly to the burghers and shipowners engaged in trade. The tasks of the shipbrokers included the acquisition of clearance documents, passports, guidance for visiting skippers and matters related to loading and unloading.

Steamships and shipbrokers

When steam power was taken into use in the 19th century, it enabled traffic to be faster and more regular, thereby creating the need for shipowners to contract with co-operative partners in ports. This resulted in a network of agents that assumed certain port routines that earlier were the responsibility of the shipmaster. In 1863, during Finland’s period under Russian rule, new decrees were issued concerning shipbrokerage and ship clearance.

According to the decrees, the shipbrokers took care of the documentation, bills of exchange and agreements related to the acquisition and sale of goods and ships as well as charter
and clearance documentation. The title of shipbroker (laivameklari in Finnish) became established in the 19th century and the work included all the same aspects it does today.

“I’m off to Kämp again”

So said Jean Sibelius to his wife, Aino, when she criticised the composer’s long evenings out in the town. Hotel Kämp was a popular gentlemen’s hang-out at the beginning of the last century. Many shipbrokers also spent time there prior to it becoming the official meeting place for their own association starting on 18 March 1920. Three of the companies currently operating in the industry, namely Herman Andersson, John Dahlberg and Victor Ek were present for the founding meeting of the Finnish Shipbrokers Association (Suomen Laivameklari Yhdistys).

The Annual Meeting 2020 of Shipbrokers Finland was arranged in the hotel Kämp Helsinki, the same place where the Association was founded 100 years ago. The purpose is still the same – the association provides its members a great opportunity to play a role in the future of Finnish sea transports.

When the association was founded, all port operations were carried out by hand. The port operations were handled in their entirety, albeit on a smaller scale; the ships, stores, ports and quays were all much smaller than they are today. The companies in the industry were generally family businesses and the common language was Swedish.

Everyone in the industry knew one another and personal relationships facilitated the work and co-operation. Some of this tradition still remains an integral part of the company activities within the industry.

Aspects of influence

General tariffs, fairway fees, co-operation with customs and pilotage. For nearly 100 years, these tasks have been on the agenda of the shipbrokers’ association. Only the matter of tariffs has actually been completely finalised. They have not been permitted since Finland joined the EU in 1995.

Instead, the EU brought with it a lot of new reporting obligations. To meet these obligations, Finland worked together with different parties to build the Portnet system. Now, we are in a situation in which the EU is optimising a method of harmonised reporting through the EMSW regulation.

Thus, shipbrokers are once again working with the authorities to build a new reporting system!

Despite the resistance expressed by the business sector, fairway fees have remained a feature of Finnish navigation. Due to the corona situation, we may be able to forgo these for at least the year 2020. Shipbrokers are following the development of remote pilotage with great interest.

From the start, the basic idea behind the activities of the shipbroker or modern-day agent has been to provide as convenient and prompt a service as possible for customers looking to transport products from sellers to purchasers by sea. The conditions surrounding that idea have changed throughout the years of operation, but the basic idea and objective have not.

International dimension

Finland is a founding member of the Federation of National Shipbrokers and Agents (FONASBA), founded in 1969. The organisation, which has been in operation for more than 50 years, has members from more than 60 countries and serves as a vital actor within the global maritime sector.

Gunnar J. Heinonen, who has served as head of Transfennica, Finnlines and Finncarriers, has had an active role in the Federation’s activities within Finland and abroad.

‘The differences between members serve as both an asset and a challenge. Our task is to drive the interests of all the members.

Training, networks and common game rules are key factors. It is extremely important to actively communicate about activities and achievements. To this end, the Federation is currently doing an excellent job.”

We are part of the Finnish Maritime Cluster

The 100th anniversary meeting of Shipbrokers Finland was held in Hotel Kämp in Helsinki on 6 February 2020. Tomi Rautio (Saimaa Terminals-Steveco) was appointed as the new Chairman of the Board. ‘Our association provides its members with a great opportunity to play a role in the future of Finnish sea transports. Our industry is currently undergoing the largest change in decades and we need to be an active part of that process We provide vital information for the maritime cluster and the significance of our role will only increase as technologies develop,” states Tomi Rautio.


Shipbrokers Finland

• 40 member companies: Ship Agents and Port Operators, Chartering Brokers, Liner Agents and Container Shipping

• Finland-based companies that serve as contracting partners for international shipping companies or Finnish subsidiaries of international shipping companies

• members operate in all ports in Finland from the Bothnian Sea to the Saimaa Lake region.

• members manage transportation assignments for Finnish exporters within the Baltic Sea region, and further to ports in the USA and Asia.

• Read more:

The Finnish maritime cluster knows collaboration

Finland’s maritime cluster is one of the country’s most significant business sectors with annual revenues of EUR 14 billion. The sector employs 50,000 people all over the country. The maritime cluster encompasses about 3,000 companies from various sectors, all of which are connected by their maritime expertise. Our diversity differentiates us from many other countries.

Read article

Aid crucial in pandemic survival

One lesson learned from Covid-19 has been asking for help, says Björn Blomqvist, Managing Director of Rederi AB Eckerö.

Read article

Support and promotion for Finnish Shipping Industry

The Shipowners’ Foundation in Finland was established in 2008. The Foundation aims to support research, education, and communication in the Finnish shipping industry as well as to promote activities related to the shipping industry.

Read article

Breaking Waves focused on smart recovery – speakers emphasized cooperation and digitalization

Maritime industry faces big challenges due COVID19-pandemic. Pandemic is seen to lead to stronger collaboration and accelerated digitalisation.

Read article

Breaking Waves: Towards smart and emission-free shipping

The Breaking Waves conference 2019 at the Messukeskus Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre as part of the world-leading start-up event Slush. The famous buzz surrounding the event also extended to the maritime
cluster’s conference, as the top names and influencers in the sector met to discuss the future challenges facing maritime logistics.

Read article

The world is becoming autonomous

“The world is becoming autonomous,” Pia Meling said in Breaking Waves-conference in Helsinki. Why should it not happen in maritime?

Read article

“We are not dinosaurs”

“I am so sick and tired of hearing that we are the dinosaurs,” Erwin Verstraelen said. “If 90 percent of the global trade is maritime based, you can’t be a dinosaur.”

Read article

“The world is getting more complex”

“We have to use infrastructure in a clever way. Our target must be in cities and ports, to avoid traffic jams and keep the traffic flowing,” says Port of Hamburg CEO Jens Meier.

Read article

Record Years 2018 And 2019 For The Finnish Maritime Cluster – However The Looming Corona Slowdown Behind The Corner

Recently Rauma Marine Construction announced a MoU with the Tasmanian TT-Line to build in 2022–2023 two Ro-Paxes in Finland and simultaneously reported that the RMC orderbook already had exceeded 1 billion euros in value. These two announcements well reflect the excellent growth path in the Finnish Maritime Cluster that prevailed in 2018 and 2019. The […]

Read article

Rauma Marine Construction has secured a solid orderbook

Rauma is one of the three primary shipbuilding cities in Finland. The other two are Helsinki and Turku.

Read article

Costa Smeralda delivered from Meyer Turku shipyard

Costa Smeralda is one of the most innovative, and some would claim, the most beautiful ships ever built at Turku shipyard.

Read article

Changes at Helsinki Shipyard

In Spring 2019, Arctech Helsinki Shipyard sold Helsinki Shipyard to Algador Holdings Ltd, which is registered in Cyprus. The holding company operates river cruises and engages in the merchant naval business. Quite soon after the deal the shipyard received first order for two expedition cruise ships.

Read article

Roger Holm from Wärtsilä Marine: Technology is already creating many opportunities for smart shipping

As a tech group, Wärtsilä Oyj’s strategy has long revolved around smart technology and smart shipping. In practice, this means providing safe, energy-efficient and sustainable solutions for Wärtsilä Marine’s customers.

Read article

Cargotec sees great benefits in the optimisation of traffic flows

The Finnish listed company Cargotec Corporation has set its sights on becoming the market leader in intelligent cargo handling. Cargotec harnesses digitalisation and cloud services to boost efficiency in shipping logistics chains, save money for customers and pave the way for responsible business.

Read article

ABB riding the wave of marine industry digitalization

As vessels become electric, digital and connected, ABB Marine & Ports ́s unit in Finland has plenty of work ahead of it to digitalize the marine industry. Autonomous solutions are expected to transform international shipping in the coming decades.

Read article

Surma joins Chilean icebreaker project

Surma, a Finnish company in the defence equipment sector, has signed an agreement with ASMAR shipyard covering electro- magnetic compatibility design and management for Chile’s Antártica 1icebreaker.

Read article

Aurora Botnia – a challenge for Foreship

The design of Wasaline’s new ferry has already posed challenges for marine engineers at the design agency Foreship. In addition to being environmentally friendly, the ship must be able to operate to a strict timetable in shallow and freezing waters – and often in difficult weather conditions.

Read article

Wello’s Penguin will become a common sight on the world’s oceans

Wello’s technology for harnessing ocean-wave energy is now ready to be put into real action. Thanks to an increasing number of devices and installations, the Finnish company believes that wave energy will soon become the most affordable type of renewable energy.

Read article

Aker Arctic plays with high stakes at high latitudes

The technology company Aker Arctic is a notable international player in northern shipping. In addition to icebreakers and ice-going vessels that are working in Finland, the company also holds an important position in international markets. For example, icebreaker design for Sweden and many Arctic transport projects in the Northeast Passage are currently ongoing.

Read article

NauticAi and Inmarsat join forces

NauticAi, one of Finland’s leading maritime startups, has joined the Fleet Data service provided by the satellite company Inmarsat.

Read article

Cadmatic has a firm belief in data-driven shipbuilding

As CEO of Cadmatic, a company that provides design and information management software for the shipping, construction and process industries, Jukka Rantala has firsthand experience of the progress being made in ‘paperless design’ at shipyards.

Read article

Maintenance agreement with Wärtsilä

Norsepower, a cleantech company that develops wind power solutions for ships, made several significant steps forward during the year. The company has gained new customers, significant partners, and firm proof that its Flettner rotors perform well under real-life conditions.

Read article

Baltic Sea vessels rapidly getting cleaner

Shipping companies operating in Finland’s sea areas have rapidly reacted to requirements for cleaner shipping. In the coming years, dozens of highly advanced cargo and passenger vessels will be completed for the Baltic Sea.

Read article

Meriaura – pioneer of sustainable shipping

Meriaura is family owned Turku-based shipping company that offers a variety of services in marine transportation. Meriaura is the first sea carrier that can offer a carbon neutral sea transport contract for its customers.

Read article

Arctia’s icebreakers open shipping lanes every winter

The 100% Finnish state-owned shipping company Arctia Oy safeguards year-round maritime transport in Finland in all conditions.

Read article

5G is coming – ports are going digital

The digitisation of Finnish ports is progressing bit by bit. The benefits of going digital include safety, situational data, emission reductions and smoother running operations in general. 5G technology will now be running hand-in-hand with digitalisation.

Read article

Our vision is to be the world’s most functional port

Helsinki has been Europe’s busiest international passenger port for several years, but the covid-19 pandemic and travelling restrictions have quieted down the lively passenger traffic. Cruise industry has a strong belief in future.

Read article

Rauanheimo focuses on the port of HaminaKotka

Rauanheimo and Port of HaminaKotka Ltd have signed an agreement on the investments for the expansion of the Mussalo Bulk Terminal.

Read article

Port of Turku heads into the future despite the exceptional times

The Port of Turku looks confidently to the horizon and invests in the future. Economical, environmentally sound and modern solutions are implemented to improve the safety, smooth flow and attractiveness of passenger traffic and cargo transports.

Read article

Port of Pori – the green port of Bothnia

Port of Pori Ltd provides land rental, ship, crane and conveyor services. The Port of Pori consist of three harbors: Mäntyluoto, Tahkoluoto oil and chemical harbor and Tahkoluoto deep harbor. The depth of the Tahkoluoto fairway is 15,3 meters, making it Finland’s deepest harbor. All harbor areas can be safely approached via short and direct fairways by land and sea.

Read article

Commander of the Finnish Navy Jori Harju: The Baltic Sea’s strategic significance has increased

Security in the Baltic Sea region has deteriorated in recent years. More operators have entered the region, making it even more important to safeguard Finland’s sea lines of communication. The Finnish Navy is responding to these challenges with new acquisitions and closer cooperation with Sweden.

Read article

Climate Work – Waterways an Ecological Transport Mode

The European Green Deal agreement aims to ensure carbon neutrality by 2050. Climate action is essential to ensure that EU Member States live up to the commitments made in the Paris Climate Agreement, December 2015.

Read article