Closely related to shipping and fishing is the port development. There are more than 200 ports in the Baltic Sea. In 2008, the total amount of cargo handled in the Baltic Sea ports amounted to 822.4 million tonnes. The major ports in the Eastern Baltic Sea are Primorsk, Sankt-Petersburg, Klaipeda, Ventspils, Riga, Tallinn. Every harbour requires regular dredging to keep it navigable.
Dredging is necessary because fine-grained sediments carried by rivers, settle and accumulate on the sea floor silting the waterways. The material removed during the dredging is disposed of in dumping sites at the sea. There are more than 20 such dumping sites in the eastern Baltic Sea. Dredging and dumping can cause some negative impacts, including release of toxic chemicals residing in bottom sediments and spreading of the dumped sand on the sea bottom over a large area harming marine habitats.
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Port terminal in Riga (Photo: Lena Konovalova)