For decades goods and people have been transported in lake Saimaa. Nowadays Freight traffic concentrates on transporting wood, minerals, pulp, cement and other raw materials used in different industries. The golden ages of water transportation was in the beginning of 2000, but after 2009 the volumes have been declining, nowadays being 2 million tons all together including the traffic inside Saimaa, timber traffic and import/export via Saimaa Canal.
Transporting goods via waterways is by far the most environmentally mode of transport. Waterway does not wear or tear, there is no dust or noise. In addition, no heavy trafffic nor accidents. 1 inland ship can carry the load of 128 trucks or 40 train wagons. So, water transportation benefits us all, it takes trucks away from the roads redusing the wear of road, noise, dust and accidents. Also, via Saimaa canal, there is a direct path to Europe, so goods starting from, for example, from Kuopio, can be transported directly to the destination without unloading.
The Finnish transportation agency, Traficom, collects the data of transported goods that go through Saimaa Canal. You can find the figures from here.(Only in Finnish)
In addition to traffic via Canal, there are 0,7 million tons of goods, mostly wood, transported inside Saimaa from city to city.