Maritime industries and public sector operators form the maritime cluster

Maritime industries combine to form what is known as the maritime cluster. Its three main categories are industries related to the maritime industry, shipping, and port operations.

In addition to the abovementioned industries, the maritime cluster includes, among others, classification societies, maritime finance and insurance operators, and public sector education and research. These are all very important business enablers and competence developers for the maritime industries.

Maritime authorities such as the Finnish Border Guard, Customs, and the Finnish Navy are also part of the maritime cluster. In addition, other maritime industries include commercial fisheries and blue bioeconomy industries.

The main products of the maritime cluster in the marine industry are ships and offshore structure as well as ship devices and systems. In the shipping business, the most important services are freight and passenger transport, while in port operations, it is cargo handling and storage services.

The maritime cluster has very close international connections, as a very significant part of the customers of Finnish maritime cluster companies are from overseas. Finnish maritime cluster companies also have many foreign partners, suppliers and subcontractors.

The main branches of the Finnish Maritime Cluster. Source: Brahea Centre at the University of Turku

Maritime cluster companies are also located inland

Naturally, companies engaged in maritime industries are mainly located on the coast. However, major companies belonging to the maritime cluster can also be found all over the interior of Finland. For example, the Saimaa basin has its own major maritime industries located along inland waterways.

Most of the maritime cluster companies are located in southern and south-western Finland, in the provinces of Uusimaa and Southwest Finland. The next most important provinces for the maritime cluster are Satakunta, Kymenlaakso, Ostrobothnia and Pirkanmaa.

The Åland maritime cluster, and in particular the shipping industry, have a major economic and social impact on the region.

Thousands of companies make a living from the maritime cluster

The Finnish maritime cluster comprises nearly 3,000 companies, from large multinationals to small micro-enterprises. There are about 1,800 joint-stock companies in the maritime cluster for which published financial statements are available. The remaining companies are mostly very small and consist of sole traders.

Over half of the maritime cluster companies operate in the marine industry. It is important to note that many businesses are not entirely involved in the maritime cluster. Companies can have activities in many different business sectors.

Table: Financial performance indicators of the Finnish maritime cluster in 2020.

Share of the maritime sector
The main industry groups Number of companies Turnover
(1,000 EUR)
Marine industry 1,100 7,651,100 25,400
Shipping industry 336 2,155,100 8,100
Port operations 234 1,634,700 5,600
Other functions serving the maritime cluster 175 243,700 1,400
Total 1,845 11,684,600 40,500

The maritime cluster has a combined annual turnover of billions of euros

The combined maritime revenues of the Finnish maritime cluster companies in 2019 were approximately EUR 11.7 billion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the revenue decreased by 19% compared to 2019. Especially the shipping companies with passenger traffic were strongly affected by the travel restrictions.

The marine industry accounted for the largest share, i.e. approximately EUR 7.7 billion. Shipping and other maritime-related industries generated sales of EUR 2.2 billion. Port operations accounted for EUR 1.6 billion. The turnover of other sectors serving the maritime cluster generated a revenue of EUR 0.2 billion.

Table: The development of the maritime cluster from 2007-2020 Lähde: Turun yliopiston Brahea-keskus

Tens of thousands earn their living from the maritime cluster

The maritime cluster employs about 40,500 people. Of these, 25,400 are employed in the maritime industry. The shipping industry employs around 8,100 people, while port operations employ around 5,600.