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Shipping in the Baltic Sea - Developments relevant for Maritime Spatial Planning


The report synthesises availble information on shipping in the Baltic Sea. Particular attention is paid to (future) developments that should be taken into account by MSP.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are the unique characteristics of the Baltic Sea with regard to shipping?
  • Which economic, environmental and technological developments will influence shipping in the coming years and what are their spatial implications?
  • What plans / guidelines exist for the coordination of shipping traffic in the Baltic Sea?

Implementation Context

The report was developed in the framework of the Interreg project Baltic LINes (2016-2019). Baltic LINes seeks to increase transnational coherence of shipping routes and energy corridors in Maritime Spatial Plans to prevent cross-border mismatches and secure transnational connectivity as well as efficient and sustainable use of Baltic Sea space.


When developing recommendations for planning solutions for shipping, the future quality and scale of shipping in the Baltic Sea must be taken into account. This report aims at compiling relevant developments that can be expected in the future. The compilation serves as a basis for further discussions in the partnership as well as with (shipping) stakeholders on the spatial requirements of shipping for MSP. The identified developments will be considered when developing spatial scenarios for shipping for the years 2030 and 2050. The spatial scenarios on their part will be used as an information basis when developing recommendations for planning solutions.


The information was synthesised based on desk research. Reports, e.g. from relevant projects (e.g. BONUS SHEBA, ClEANSHIP, Baltic SCOPE) as well from international organsiations (HELCOM, UNCTAD), have been used as sources.

Main Outputs / Results

The report presents anticipated future developments in the economic, environmental, technological and safety related sphere.

It provides short summaries of key messages (see below):

Key messages - general developments

Key messages - Environmental developments
Key messages - Economic developments

Key messages - Technological developments


Key messages - Safety aspects

Traffic density maps for various vessel types are annexed to the report. They provide a snapshot of he use of space by shipping in 2014 and also help to forecast the future spatial requirements.

Baltic Sea traffic density map



Many of the synthesised developments are relevant for other sea basins as well.

Responsible Entity

German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH)

Contact person

Nele Meyer