Data Envelopment Analysis of Helsinki-Tallinn Transportation Chains

  • Olli-Pekka Hilmola Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT School of Industrial Engineering and Management, Kouvola Research Unit Kouvola, Finland
Keywords: short sea shipping, Helsinki, Tallinn, multi-dimensional performance, Data Envelopment Analysis


The Baltic Sea shipping is at a crossroads as sulphur regulation will lead to excessive cost increases from the year 2015 onwards and CO2 emission trading is planned to be implemented for the entire shipping sector within the EU area. Therefore, shipping is going to be minimized and hinterland transportation (road and rail) will act as substitute. This research analyzes the situation on one of the highest volume general cargo transportation routes of Finland (operating between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia), including loading and unloading at seaports and short sea shipping activity in between. Based on the efficiency evaluation results, it seems that containers should be favoured over semi-trailers – containers could be carried efficiently either in container ships or even at currently favoured RoRo or RoPax ships. Our research illustrates that pure container shipping with larger container ships within the analyzed route is not entirely out of question, but lead time and hinterland operations should receive more attention. Alternatively, RoRo and RoPax ships can also do something to increase their competitiveness in environmental harm caused and diesel consumption – higher cargo loads and utilization levels are short-term key for continued dominance.

Author Biography

Olli-Pekka Hilmola, Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT School of Industrial Engineering and Management, Kouvola Research Unit Kouvola, Finland

PhD Olli-Pekka Hilmola is working as a Professor in Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), in research unit located in the city of Kouvola, Finland. He is affiliated with numerous int. journals through editorial boards, including Baltic Journal of Management, Industrial Management and Data Systems, Int. Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics as well as Decision Support Systems. He holds more than 120 journal publications and has been involved in numerous int. research projects from logistics.


Finnish Customs. Transports of foreign trade, January-December 2011. Available at URL: Retrieved: Aug.2012

Hilmola, O-P, Tapaninen, U., Terk, E., Savolainen, V-V: Container Transit in Finland and Estonia – Current Status, Future Demand and Implications on Infrastructure Investments in Transportation Chain. Publications from the Centre for Maritime Studies, University of Turku (Turku, Finland), A44, 2007

Walsh, C. & Bows, A.: Size matters: Exploring the importance of vessel characteristics to inform estimates of shipping emissions. Applied Energy, 98, pp. 128-137, 2012

Morales-Fusco, P., Sauri, S. and Lago, A.: Potential freight distribution investments using motorways of the sea. Journal of Transport Geography, 24, pp. 1-11, 2012

Puckett, S.M., Hensher, D.A. Brooks, M.R., Trifts, V.: Preferences of alternative short sea shipping opportunities. Transportation Research: Part E, 47:2, pp. 182-189, 2011

Finnports. Finnish Port Association – Statistics. Available at URL: Retrieved: June 2013

Hilmola, O-P.: Rail Baltica Influence Area: State of Operating Environment. Lappeenranta University of Technology, Department of Industrial Management. Research Report 236. Lappeenranta, Finland, 2011

Hilmola, O-P.: Container sea ports and network connections within the Gulf of Finland. International Journal of Business Performance and Supply Chain Modelling, 3:4, pp. 316-334, 2011

Sundberg, P., Posti, A., Tapaninen, U.: Cargo Traffic on the Helsinki-Tallinn Route. Publications from the Centre for Maritime Studies, University of Turku, A56. Turku, Finland, 2011

Tapaninen, U. Helsinki – Tallinn Passenger and Cargo Studies. Presentation given in Tallinn, Estonia (26.April.2012), RBGC interregional roundtable and H-TTransPlan meetings, 2012

Kalli, J., Karvonen, T., Makkonen, T.: Sulphur content in ships bunker fuel in 2015: A study on the impacts of the new IMO regulations and transportation costs. Ministry of Transport and Communications. No. 31, Helsinki, Finland, 2009

DNV. Greener Shipping in the Baltic Sea. Det Norske Veritas. June 2010. Available at URL: Retrieved: Aug. 2012

Tallink. Tallinn stock exchange press release database, Tallink. Available at URL: Retrieved: July 2013

Port of Tallinn. Port of Tallinn: Key Figures. Available at URL: Retrieved: June.2013

Merk, O., Hilmola O-P., Dubarle P.: The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: The Case of Helsinki – Finland. OECD Regional Development Working Papers, 2012/08. Paris, France, 2012

VTT Lipasto. Lipasto Traffic Emissions. Available at URL: Retrieved: June-July 2012

Defra. 2012 greenhouse gas conversion factors for company reporting. Available at URL: Retrieved: Aug. 2012

Nieuwenhuis, P., Beresford, A., Ki-Young Choi, A.: Shipping of local production? CO2 impact on a strategic decision: An automotive industry case study. International Journal of Production Economics, 140:1, pp. 138-148, 2012

Styhre, L. Capacity Utilization of Short Sea Shipping. Doctoral Dissertation. Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden, 2010

Charnes, A., Cooper, W.W., Rhodes, E.: Measuring the efficiency of decision making units. European Journal of Operational Research, 2:6, pp. 429-444, 1978

Raab, R.L., Lichty, R.W.: Identifying subareas that compromise a greater metropolitan area: the criterion of country relative efficiency. Journal of Regional Science, 42:3, pp. 579–594, 2002

Goto, M., Tsutsui, V.: Comparison of productive and cost efficiencies among Japanese and US electric utilities. Omega, International Journal of Management Science, 26:2, pp. 177-194, 1998

Keh, H.T., Chu, S.: Retail productivity and scale economics at the firm level: a DEA approach. Omega – The International Journal of Management Science, 31:2, pp. 75-82, 2003

Jain, P., Cullinane, S., Cullinane, K.: The impact of governance development models on urban rail efficiency. Transportation Research Part A, 42:10, pp. 1283-1294, 2008

Savolainen, V-V., Hilmola, O-P.: Relative technical efficiency of European transportation systems concerning air transports and railways. International Journal of Business Performance Management, 11:1-2, pp. 19-42, 2009

Xue, M., Harker, P.T.: Note: Ranking DMUs with infeasible super-efficiency DEA models. Management Science, 48:5, pp. 705-710, 2002

Sames, P.C., Köpke, M.: CO2 emissions of the world container fleet. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 48, pp. 1-11, 2012

How to Cite
Hilmola O-P. Data Envelopment Analysis of Helsinki-Tallinn Transportation Chains. Promet [Internet]. 2013Dec.16 [cited 2024May30];25(6):575-86. Available from: