The Ministry of
Transport and Communications is responsible for maritime policy in
Finland, drafting maritime legislation and contributing to any
legislative drafting at the EU level. The Ministry deals with
matters concerning the safety of waterborne traffic, aid to
maritime transport, legal questions of shipping, and the associated
Approximately 90 per cent of Finland's exports and approximately 70 per cent of imports are transported by sea. It is crucial that Finnish maritime transport be developed systematically and its competitiveness ensured.
The Ministry represents Finland in international organisations, with the principal one being the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which regulates transport in international waters by means of decisions binding on its member states. The Ministry also takes active part in the work of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (known as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM).
Transport Strategy for Finland is a comprehensive outlook for
2014-2022 that serves the economy, business and employment in
Finland and incorporates new environmental norms. The strategy
analyses changes that have taken place in recent years, as well as
coming challenges and includes a prepared vision for 2030. The
strategy also lists procedures that have been recognised as
fundamental for achieving this vision.
The strategy's key
objective is to ensure the functional capacity of maritime
transport to and from Finland and maritime enterprise, while
simultaneously taking the national economy's competitiveness and
environmental and safety issues into account.
In 2009, the EU drew up the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), the purpose of which is to promote effective EU activities in the Baltic region.
Finland seeks to
maintain the competitiveness of shipping and ensure domestic jobs
in the sector. In view of this, a tonnage taxation system has been
introduced. In this system, which is aimed at decreasing
manning costs, a shipping company is exempted from tax withholding,
and employer contributions are reimbursed in full.
The system was originally applied to cargo vessels, but at the end of 2007, it was also extended to cover passenger vessels. Aid to maritime transport amounts to around EUR 95 million per year.
cooperation and agreements are central to ensuring safe maritime
The Vessel Traffic
Management and Information Service (VTMIS) is used for traffic
plying the international sea area of the Gulf of Finland. In the
VTMIS system, which was introduced in 2004, Finland, Russia and
Estonia together monitor shipping in the Gulf of Finland and the
vessels themselves have a reporting obligation.
6. Administrative branch
The Ministry's administrative branch in shipping is comprised of the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (maritime safety), the Finnish Transport Agency (traffic systems, fairways) and Finnpilot Pilotage Ltd (pilotage).