Fairly positive outlook for Finnish maritime industry, with Turku shipyard a key player

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Tesi’s (Finnish Industry Investment’s) recent survey reveals that a robust ecosystem has built up around Finland’s maritime cluster: Finland is home to over one thousand maritime companies that are systematically setting their sights on international markets. Turku shipyard is crucially important to Finland’s maritime industry: over one-half of the country’s maritime players trade directly with it.

The coronavirus pandemic depressed revenue generated by companies in Finland’s maritime sector, but there has been a recovery to near pre-pandemic levels.

The sector’s prospects now seem bright: although companies expect a slower rate of growth in revenues compared to last year, healthy profitability is forecast. Only the largest maritime companies expect a decline in profitability. They face the same challenges to growth as other sectors: workforce availability, rising costs and the impacts of Russia’s military actions on supply chains.

“The growth orientation and R&D investments of companies in the maritime cluster follow the pattern of other companies in the same size range. A strong feature of the sector is its international character: around one-half of the SMEs in the maritime industry are actively seeking international growth,” comments Henri Hakamo, Tesi’s Chief Strategy and Research Officer.

The sector’s international nature is also reflected in the maritime cluster’s personnel: one-third of all the sector’s companies use foreign labour.

Turku Meyer very important to companies in the maritime cluster

Turku shipyard is hugely important because one-half of the companies in Finland’s maritime industry trade directly with it.

Meyer Turku is the most important shipyard for Finland’s maritime industry, while other large Finnish shipyards – such as Helsinki, Rauma and Uusikaupunki – complement it,” points out Jussi Hattula, the director of Tesi’s Growth and Industrial Investments team.

Companies in the maritime cluster have quite strongly prioritised proximity to the large shipyards: altogether 77% of the sector’s companies are situated less than 100 kilometres from one of the 4 largest shipyards.

Some 63% of companies in the sector trade directly with the four largest shipyards.

“The importance of the large shipyards is profound – just on the basis of direct trading. On top of that, the network also includes all sorts of subcontracting chains and partnerships, so the importance of the Turku, Rauma, Helsinki and Uusikaupunki shipyards is even greater than what is measured by direct trading alone,” comments Klaus Majanen, the analyst at Tesi who compiled the survey.

The survey reveals that companies in the maritime sector believe the big four shipyards are important to their business success. The companies regard the shipyards as important customers. Moreover, the companies for which direct sales to the shipyards represent a large portion of revenue are of all sizes and are distributed throughout the value chain.

Tesi as owner in Finnish maritime companies

Tesi is an owner in four Finnish maritime companies including the Rauma shipyard, which collaborates with Tallink, Wasaline and the Finnish Defence Forces, and Aker Arctic, which specialises in maritime navigation in ice-covered regions. In addition to the Rauma shipyard and Aker Arctic, Tesi’s portfolio includes Seaber.io, a provider of marine digitalisation solutions, and Norsepower, a supplier of rotor sails. In the case of Turku Meyer, Tesi actively assisted the Finnish state in the ownership arrangements.

“We want to monitor the growth orientation and opportunities for international expansion of sectors that are important to Finland. The maritime industry has a long tradition in Finland, and a strong concentration of expertise has grown around it,” says Tesi’s CEO Pia Santavirta.

“Finnish and European shipbuilding is particularly competitive in the construction of sophisticated vessels. Shipping, like many other sectors, is facing radical change, giving Finland an opportunity to become a forerunner in sustainable seafaring,” adds Hattula.

More information:

For more information about the maritime industry survey:
Henri Hakamo, Chief Strategy and Research Officer
+358 40 050 2721

For more information about Tesi’s investments in the maritime industry:
Jussi Hattula, Director, Growth and Industrial Investments
+358 40 066 9955

For media contacts:
Saara Vettenranta, Communications Manager
+358 40 723 3516

About the survey: The survey of the maritime industry was commissioned by Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Tesi and the Brahea Centre, a University of Turku research institute, collaborated in arranging the survey. The survey was conducted by combining questionnaire data produced by Taloustutkimus with data obtained from Tesi’s data modelling. The survey was conducted between 24 March and 26 May 2023. The survey sample included 315 companies of all sizes. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) received one set of questions and large companies a different set, although some of the questions were the same for both groups. Altogether 27% of the companies in Finland’s maritime industry responded to the questionnaire, providing a broad sample for analysis.