Quality description: Transit transports

1. Relevance of statistics

1.1 Content and use of statistics

The statistics on eastbound transit road transports contain the monthly data on transit road transports from Finnish ports and other Finnish customs offices to the most important crossing points to Russia along the eastern border: Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, and Imatra. These statistics present the transport quantities of the most important categories of commodities by the border crossings as well as an estimated total value of the transports.

Information on the quantity and value of the transit road traffic is required e.g. for traffic planning as well as the steering of and surveillance on the flows of goods.

1.2 Central concepts and classifications

The CPA product classification of the EU (Council Regulation, EEC, of 29.10.1993, No 3969/93) is used to publish the transit transport statistics. These statistics cover 31 CPA-based categories of commodities, and even one category of unspecified commodities. The composition of the various categories is based either on the fact that the import from the western countries as registered by Russia is particularly high in these groups, or that the import from Finland registered by Russia is clearly higher than the export into Russia recorded by Finland, due to the fact that Russia registered the goods transited via Finland as if they were imported from Finland.

The data are recorded by the major customs offices along the eastern border of Finland under the application of the Combined Nomenclature CN of the EU. The key between the CN categories of commodities and the CPA categories applied to transit transport statistics is attached to the transit survey. The categories of commodities incurring in the transit transport statistics can be revised should the commodity structure of the transit transports change essentially.

The customs offices of Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, and Imatra monthly transmit their respective data electronically to the Statistics of the Finnish Customs to be used as the basis of the transit transport statistics to be prepared there.

1.3 Acts and Decrees

The transit transport statistics has no legislative background: it is based on a general need for information on the volume of road transports.

2. Method description

The material on the transit transports is collected by the customs offices along the eastern border of Finland while processing the transit documents. On every transit transport, these customs offices register the identification data of the lot and vehicle, quantity in kilos, CN goods category with an accuracy of two or four digits as well as the transiting customs office and the country of destination of the consignment. On household appliances and cars, also the amounts of units are registered wherever possible.

If one transport lot contains commodities belonging to several CN4 categories but at least 75% of the weight of the lot fall under one CN4 category, the whole lot is recorded to this category. Besides, a so-called 75%-note is filed implying that the lot is not homogeneous. If at least 75% of the weight of the lot belong to the CN categories from 50 to 60, the entire lot is registered as textiles under a common code. Likewise, also clothes categories (CN61 to 63) and iron and steel categories (CN72 and 73) may be combined under a level rougher than that of the CN category. If the contents of the transport lot are so heterogeneous that the lot cannot be referred to any goods category even under the aforementioned majority principle, it shall be recorded to the category of unspecified commodities under the CN code 9969.

Since the transit transport material does not contain any value data, the values of the goods categories indicated in the statistics are based on estimation. As the starting points of the estimation are the export prices in the most important countries exporting to Russia, on one hand, and the import prices stated by Russia, on the other. This material is complemented by the price information on Finnish exports to Russia. The estimate of the unit value of each CPA category is the weighted average of the unit values of the CN categories contained therein. The unit value of the "Unspecified" category is the weighted average of the unit values of the other categories. Since the internal structures and price levels of the goods categories may change rapidly, the weights and unit prices of different headings are recalculated annually.

3. Correctness and accuracy of information

The material received from the customs offices is tested in several ways. The testing ensures e.g. that the quantity and the CN code are indicated on each transit lot and that the amount of 60 000 kilos is not exceeded by any lot. The calculation of the value of the transit transport involves the greatest risk, because there is no comparison material available enabling an accurate definition of the unit values of transit goods.

4. Up-to-dateness and timeliness of published data

The transit statistics are published monthly in electronic format at the end of the month following the statistical month, two days before the Monthly statistics on international trade in goods. These data are definite. If the commodity categorization of the statistics gets modified in the subsequent years, the data on the preceding years may be rearranged according to the new group categories in view of comparability, but the original data on quantities and values are not revised then either.

5. Availability and transparency / clarity of data

The statistics on eastbound transit road transports are published in the Uljas database on the dates announced in advance. 

Further information on the transit statistics and the statistics on international trade published by the Finnish Customs is available form the web site of Customs -> International trade statistics. This site comprises e.g. the principles of compiling international trade statistics as well as all the statistics and surveys published by the Finnish Customs on Finnish international trade.

Further information is also available from the Statistics Service at:
- telephone: +358 295 5200 (exchange) or +358 295 52335 (Statistics Service direct)
- e-mail: statistics[at]tulli.fi
- Internet: www.tulli.fi
- Statistical database Uljas: uljas.tulli.fi

6. Comparability of statistics

Statistics on eastbound transit road transports are being produced since 2002, first on an annual basis and quarterly since the beginning of 2003. All these transit transport statistics are available from the web site of Customs.

7. Clarity and consistency / coherence

The information on transit traffic by rail is collected by Finnish State Railways, and on transit traffic by sea by the Finnish Maritime Administration. Until the end of 2005, both of these statistics were published by the Statistics Finland, but the data relating to the subsequent years are available from the aforementioned compiling parties only.