Swedish Period

The story of Vyborg as a seaport began in 1527.

Vyborg was granted the privileges of a harbour town along with rights to receive foreign vessels. The town quickly established itself as a point of trading with Novgorod, Stockholm and Hanseatic League. Representatives for the town of Vyborg would act as mediators in the case of any dispute arising between the parties regarding maritime trade.

As early as 1614, Vyborg had established itself as a leading trading center throughout North-west Europe.

A town’s status during this period, could be classified in three ways: those with full rights of the port, those with limited rights and those who mainland towns. Vyborg belonged to the first of these, meaning foreign merchants could bring goods into Vyborg and merchants in Vyborg could participate in foreign trade.  Business prospered during this time and the towns economy thrived.

In 1706, during the Great Northern War, the town of Vyborg was seiged by Russian Imperial troops.

Viipuri, Teoksesta Erik Dahlbergh, 1709 г.
Waghenaer, Lucas Janszoon 1586 г.

Imperial Russia,
18th-20th centuries

In 1710, Vyborg was captured by the Tsardom of Russia and afterwards became the seat of the Vyborg Province of St. Petersburg Governorate. The transfer of the town from Sweden to Imperial Russia was officially recognised and finalised in 1721 at the Treaty of Nystad

In 1710, a galley yard was constructed in Vyborg.


Between 1710 and 1732, some 50 vessels would visit the port annually. Typically, these were of Dutch, Spanish and Portugese origin. Although vessels also arrived regularly from England, Denmark, France, Germany, as well as ten or more calls from St. Petersburg. According to customs records, during the 1780s Vyborg accommodated 109 vessels, often bringing to the port consignments of salt, tobacco, timber and tar.


In 1812, the town of Vyborg and the Vyborg Governorate were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Finland, an autonomous part of Imperial Russia. These territories were ceded as part of the Treaty of Fredrikshamn of 1809.


In 1846, a passenger route connecting St. Petersburg, Vyborg and Helsinki was established. It was serviced by the passenger steamboat Saima.


In 1887, the Port of Vyborg’s fleet numbered 126 vessels.

More passenger routes were introduced and regular services to Helsingfors, Hange, Abo (Turku) and Lappeenranta were established.


1856 marked the completion of the Saimaa Canal.

The canals construction contributed greatly to the prosperity of Vyborg. The town and port would now benefit from their direct connections to parts of Savonia and Karelia and the vast inland waterways of Eastern Finland.

In 1854, work started on widening the Port of Vyborg’s southern harbour. To achieve this, an area of water alongside Salakka-Lakhti harbour from the mill to the Fortress bridge was landfilled.

In 1857, the Saimaa Canal was opened and so the construction of the Southern harbour began. An embankment of dressed granite was constructed on the South-Eastern bank of the Vyborg harbour and quays 1 to 4 and adjoining warehouses were built. Parts of the nearby Rogataya Fortress and Stone City were taken apart during the works to make room for the new embankment.

In 1870, a railway route connecting Vyborg to St. Petersburg was completed. This further stimulated trade and interest in Vyborg and led to a rapid increase in the number of ship calls. As a result, Vyborg quickly emerged as an important city of transport and trade.

In 1890, an additional railway route was added, linking Vyborg with Imatra station on the Vuoksa river. More cargo now came from the South-East of Finland, as before the railway’s completion transport was hindered because the river was not fully navigable.


During the 1890s, the total length of the quayside reached 1560 meters.
During this decade, a committee of five town folk was set up to oversee and organize the construction of the quayside on the Northern harbour, a project which saw the town invest 350 000 marks. After completion, almost all of the coastline where vessels could berth were now equipped with quays. (Extract from the book The Town. The Quay. The Port.).


In 1899, the port administration office was built. 

In 1910, a decision was made to demolish the South-West part of the Anninsky crownwork wall of the Pantsarlahden bastion. The land was then utilized to increase the harbour size in order to handle more ship calls.

в Северном порту 19 век (из архива Juha Lankinen)
Вид на Южный порт 19 век
Южный порт 1890 год

The Finnish Period

From 1918 to 1940, Vyborg and the Port of Vyborg were a part of Finland.

Finland was declared independent on December 18, 1918 and the town of Vyborg and its port remained within its borders.

In 1926, the Southern and Northern harbours of the port received railway connections.

In 1927, quays 5,6,7,8,9 and 10 were built, enabling the port to expand into transshipment of timber, cardboard, paper, grain, bread, coal and coke.

In 1931, the town administration of Vyborg made a decision to considerably increase the size and facilities of the South harbour.

In 1932 the island of Uuras, where so called Big Harbour was built, became a part of Vyborg. The Port of Vyborg took on the responsibility of developing regional business life. This expansion led to more ambitious goals for the future. At that time Vyborg also functioned as a succesful export port, with timber as the main export cargo shipped from the outer port of Uuras. The expansion project itself began only in 1934.

In 1937, the Port of Vyborg became the largest export terminal in Finland and the third largest for imports.

In 1937, quays 11, 12 and 13 were built and used primarily for the purpose of transshipping of timber, cardboard, paper, grain, bread, coal and coke.

In 1939, the Vyborg harbour was expanded.

Also during this year, The Government of Finland had made plans that the Uuras port project should represent the country at the International Fair in Barcelona.

For the duration of the Winter War, fought between Finland and the USSR during 1939 and 1940, the seaport of Vyborg was out of operation.

The Soviet period

In 1940, the Moscow Peace Treaty brought an end to the Winter War and as result Vyborg and its attached territory was handed over to the Soviet Union and became the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic.

Included within the towns perimeter in 1940 was Trongsund (later Vysotsk), meaning the total area now exceeding 22 hectares.

In 1940, the Port of Vyborg, Vyborg Shipyard and the Saimaa Canal hydraulic facilities were restored and put back into full operation.

In the same year, a new and regular boat service opened between Vyborg and the island of Trondsund, the location of an established timber terminal.

Between 1941 to 1944, Vyborg was occupied by the armies of both Nazi Germany and the Finland.

The port remained active and was committed to supplying the Nazi and Finnish soldiers engaged in battle in Soviet territory. Nonetheless, occasional passenger and commercial ships were handled. In the navigation of 1943, Vyborg handled 38 ship calls and the port at Uuras accommodated 25 calls, 3 of them coming from abroad. Most of the cargo that arrived to Vyborg was coal and fertilizers. Exports in the same year consisted mostly of wood products. Merenkulku vuonna 1943, Helsinki,1948. (Extract from the book The Town. The Quay. The Port.)

In September 1944, the Vyborg Sea Commercial Port became a part of the Leningrad Sea Commercial Port.

In August 1945, the Port of Vyborg began its’ repair and renewal works.

The port received and benefited from new and modern administration structures, technical services and production divisions. In addition, on site machinery and equipment was renewed. This year also saw the port start providing services for coastal shipping.

Between the period of 1944 and 1946, all warehouses were fully restored and updated and the carpenter and blacksmith workshops refurbished. Furthermore, new loading equipment and vehicles were introduced.

This handling equipment was acquired for timber transshipment and for the purpose of handling mineral construction materials for use in construction and chemical industries. Already by 1946, the port had handled in excess of 59 thousand tons of cargo.

In 1951, an independent pilot service was set up in Vyborg.

In 1952, the port of Vyborg was added to the list of Soviet port’s permitted to receive foreign ships.

In 1953, the Vyborg Sea Commercial Port changed affiliation and became a member of the Baltic Shipping Company.

In 1956, the passenger line connecting Vyborg and Vysotsk was successfully relaunched.

In 1959, the Vyborg Sea Commercial Port led the Soviet Baltic ports in the export of raw materials for the pulp-n-paper industry.

In 1960, the port introduced container-handling, refrigerated cargo facilities, open warehousing and types of loading machinery needed for the efficient operation and running of the new services.

In 1962, a signed agreement is undertaken between the Republic of Finland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for a 50 year lease to the Republic of Finland of the Soviet part of the Saimaa Canal and Maly Vysotsky Island.

In 1968, the two countries returned the Saimaa Canal into operation, through realization of the agreements. This in turn led to an increase in timber cargo being shipped to Finland for processing.

 In 1978, Vyborg developed into a transport junction operating around the clock. A new passenger terminal was built to provide services for passengers.

The 1980s brought structural changes to the port, both organisational and architectural. An improved HSSE management system was added, new and modern facilities were installed and older ones refurbished.

In 1982, an announcement from the Ministry of Marine Fleet in the USSR established the procedures for ice-breaking support measures. This applied to all shipping in the Saimaa lakes system, the Saimaa Canal and the fairway of the Vyborg Bay leading from the Saimaa Canal to the Gulf of Finland.

The Soviet Union would provide ice-breaking support from the ice edge in the Gulf of Finland to the Brusnichnoye sluice gate. Finnish ice-breakers would be responsible for the remaining waters from the Brusnichnoye sluice gate to the Saimaa lakes system.

In 1983, the Vysotsk cargo terminal No.2 was set up inside the Vyborg Sea Commercial Port.

In the middle of the 1980s, materials used in the construction of the Novotallinn, later Muuga Harbour in Estonia, passed through the Port of Vyborg. This accounted for the port reaching a cargo handling peak of 3 mln tons during this period.

Modern period 1990-2015.

The Perestroika period brought major changes to the industry. It meant the Port of Vyborg underwent several reforms and in 1991 it parted ways with the Baltic Shipping Company to become an independent enterprise.

The following year in 1992, the port was privatized and became a closed joint-stock company, trading under the name The Vyborg Sea Commercial Port.

 In 1995, the terminal at Vysotsk ended it’s relationship with the Port of Vyborg and instead served as the base for the newly created Seaport of Vysotsk, operated by CJSC The Vysotsk Sea Commercial Port.


In the 4 year period between 1996 and 2000, major repairs of quays 6, 7 and 8 were completed and in 2004 quays 9 and 10 also underwent extensive repair.

In 2015, the Federal Agency for Construction of RF State Border Facilities confirmed the borders of a maritime cargo and passenger border entry point in the seaport of Vyborg. In the same year, it was excluded from the list of border entry points permitted to import animals and animal products as well as feed and medications.

The period from 2017
and onwards

In December 2017, Olga Ansberg was appointed the General Director of the stevedoring company Port Logistics LLC. Ms. Ansberg became the first female head of a port in the history of Russia.

As the head of the company, she swiftly introduced an intensive and visionary strategy for the development of the port.

During her first 6 months in charge, the port turnover increased by 51% from the previous year.

The first book to be written about the history of the Port of Vyborg, ‘The Town, The Quay, The Port’, was published to much excitement in August 2018. With approval and support from both Port Logistics LLC and Port Vysotsky LLC, it’s author Dmitry Semyonov, was able to access archives and documents in Finland and Russia to produce a thoroughly researched account.

Results for the first 9 months of 2018, report a turnover of 1 mln 346 thousand tonnes, making it the highest volume for a first 3 quarter period since 1993.

2018 has been a year of extensive change and progress at the Port of Vyborg. Reforms in the staffing structure, a new motivation programme for dock workers and improvements made to social infrastructure including a new canteen and café, have all contributed to a better working environment.

During 2018, Port Logistic LLC introduced the Port Development Programme. This innovative plan will restructure the ports infrastructure and quays and replace and upgrade existing loading machinery. These measures are designed to increase turnover in the next 5 years to 2.5 mln tonnes.

End of year results for 2018, showed that the Port of Vyborg transshipped 1.95 mln tonnes of cargo. This set a new annual record for the Port and topped the previous years results by 25,4%.

During December 2018, Port Logistics LLC agreed to purchase real estate and infrastructure situated in the port from the previous owner, Port Equipment LLC. Plans are to develop these areas in order to improve services and thereafter increase cargo turnover.