860 years of trade and seafaring
The Port of Turku has served as Finland’s gate to the west for more than 860 years. The earliest references to the port date back to the 12th century, but historical research suggests that vessels sailed to the River Aura from the entire Baltic Sea region already in the Iron Age.
The Port was set up in a natural trading place at the mouth of the River Aura, a meeting point of the east and west for a thousand years. In the Middle Ages the Port and the City spread along the riverbank. Ships sailed to and from the key Baltic ports already in those days, and connections were frequent especially to the Hanseatic town of Danzig. The international Turku was a natural choice as the capital of Finland until the great fire of 1827 that destroyed almost the entire city.
In the early 19th century, however, Turku was still the leading port in Finland. The age of the windjammers was coming to an end, and steamships started regular traffic to Stockholm, St Petersburg and Helsinki already in the 1830s. The increase in the size of the ships presented new challenges to the port operations, and in the early 20th century the port operations were first transferred to Kanavaniemi, and later the Port was expanded to the Linnanaukko area, West Harbour and Pansio Harbour.
By the year 2000, the Port of Turku had become the leading port and distribution centre for Scandinavian traffic in Finland. Passenger traffic is operated with modern vessels designed for comfortable travelling. The businesses are served by frequent connections to the Baltic Sea ports and highly efficient logistics centres. The development of the Port continues together with other logistics players, the City of Turku which owns the port enterprise, and various stakeholders.