Estonia - Transportation

Estonia's railroad has a total of 968 km (602 mi) of track, all common carrier railway lines, not including industrial lines in2002. Tallinn, Haapsalu, Pärnu, Tartu, and Narva are provided rail access to Russia, Latvia, and the Baltic Sea. In order to overcome problems in rolling stock shortages and load fluctuations, a second line of tracks is being laid along the Tallinn-Narva route.

Highways in 2002 totaled 30,300 km (18,828 mi), of which 29,200 km (18,145 mi) are paved, including 75 km (47 mi) of expressways. Motor vehicles dominate domestic freight transportation, carrying nearly 75% of all dispatched goods.

The Baltic Sea (with the Gulf of Finland and Gulf of Riga) provides Estonia with its primary access to international markets. The principal maritime ports are Tallinn and Pärnu. The merchant fleet had 37 vessels of at least 1,000 GRT (of which 13 were cargo ships) for a total capacity of 245,958 GRT (193,042 DWT) in 2002. Sea transportation has increased especially since the completion of Tallinn's new harbor and the acquisition of high capacity vessels. Ships carry grain from North America and also serve West African cargo routes. In 1990, a ferry service opened between Tallinn and Stockholm. During one of these commutes in September 1994, the ferry Estonia sank off the coast of Finland, resulting in about 900 deaths. The tragedy brought international attention to the safety design of roll-on/roll-off ferries in use worldwide.

There were an estimated 32 airports in 2001, eight of which had paved runways. The principal airport at Tallinn has direct air links to Helsinki and Stockholm. Estonian Air is the principal international airline. In 2001, 278,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.

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