According to a customer and stakeholder survey conducted periodically by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and Fintraffic’s Vessel Traffic Services, vessel traffic services functioned effectively in 2021 and respondents were satisfied with the operations of Fintraffic's VTS centres. The results of most of the questions improved from those of previous years' surveys. The grade for any of the areas had also not decreased from the previous years.
Safe maritime transport is based on cooperation and trust between operators, which is why regular customer feedback is important. "Digitalisation will see Maritime Traffic Management develop steadily and, at the same time, knowledge and foresight opportunities will increase all the time. Developing the service with customer needs at the forefront and feedback on the customer experience will also be of key importance in the future,” says Toni Sobott, Maritime Traffic Management Specialist at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
Overall, the results of the survey were excellent. On a scale of 1-5, where 5 signals the best possible grade, the answers to the questions were on average more than four. The customer and stakeholder survey for Maritime Traffic Management examined, such matters as opinions on the impact of VTS on the safe and efficient running of vessel traffic, response to traffic situations, the adequacy and reliability of the information shared by VTS, and the effectiveness of traffic organization and navigational assistance. In addition, the survey sought information on how successful traffic monitoring has been in the Gulf of Finland's GOFREP area and the Sea of Åland. Respondents were also asked about Turku Radio's operations. As a new entity, a separate set of questions on the effectiveness of cooperation was drawn up for authorities and stakeholders.
In addition to numerical responses, there were a large number of open responses, and Maritime Traffic Management received a great deal of praise for its work. Finland's first VTS centre was established more than 25 years ago, and operations have been developed in the long-term on the basis of feedback throughout the existence of the VTS. This time, based on the open responses, the consistent quality of the service and the reform of VTS operating models were selected as development targets. "The results of the most recent customer and stakeholder survey are excellent. It is gratifying to see that the long-term development of Maritime Traffic Management has been noted and is also apparent as continuously better results in our customer satisfaction surveys. We are grateful for the feedback we received and, based on the responses, we will further develop our operations,” sums up Quality Manager Kati Westerlund from Fintraffic.
A total of slightly over 300 responses were submitted to the customer and stakeholder survey on Maritime Traffic Management in 2021 from vessels, pilots, icebreakers, shipping companies, ports, ship agents and maritime authorities. Responses to the survey could be given in English, Swedish and Finnish, which ensured responses from both domestic and international operators. Customer satisfaction is measured periodically, and the previous surveys were carried out in 2012, 2015 and 2018.
Safer maritime transport as the objective. In Finland, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is responsible for organising Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) in the waterways it administers. The aim of Maritime Traffic Management is to improve maritime safety and to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of vessel traffic. In addition, the aim is to prevent accidents and environmental hazards that may arise from them. Maritime Transport Management covers, for example, Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), surveillance of international maritime areas and a safety radio service (Turku Radio). The Vessel Traffic Service is maintained by Fintraffic's three VTS centres. The VTS centres operate 24 hours a day during their operating period. The on-call service allows vessels to receive information throughout their journey 24 hours a day on matters related to the safe passage of the vessel as well as navigational assistance when necessary.
Toni Sobott, Maritime Specialist / Vessel Traffic Services, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, tel. +358 295 34 3696
Fintraffic’s Maritime Traffic Management: Hanna Linjos-Maunula, Western Finland VTS Centre Manager, tel. +358 40 526 0925 and Kati Westerlund, Quality Manager, tel. +358 46 921 1828