Russia-China train. Photo: RZD

Finland-China train popular enough to be regular trip

A new regular rail freight service between Finland and China has been launched. A train runs once every two weeks in both directions between Hefei in the east of China to the terminal Vuosaari near Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The service was already operative, but now has a regular schedule.

The Nordic country is an alternative point of entrance into Europe, gaining popularity among European as well as Chinese consigners, noted RZD Logistics, which organises the service. Of of the main advantages is that it has the same gauge as the CIS states, requiring only one gauge switch on the way to China. This significantly reduces the transit time.

Route and transit

Container trains go from Hefei (Anhui Province) to Europe through the territory of China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Finland. The route goes across border points Dostyk-Alashankou, Kartaly and Vainikkala- Buslovskaya to the station of Vuosaari in Finland. In the future, the service is expected to work on a weekly basis. Average delivery time along the route is 14 days.

Transported cargo includes consumer goods, furniture, electronics and equipment. The service was launched in cooperation with United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance (JSC UTLC ERA), Nurminen Logistics and Hefei International Land Port Development Co., Ltd.

Return trains

“Development of international transit requires a constant search for new routes and expansion of the existing railway services. While working on this task, we certainly remember the necessity to overcome the imbalance of commodity flows along the China-Europe-China route. We always aim for returning loaded trains’, said Sales Director of JSC RZD Logistics Olga Stepanova.

‘Finland is an alternative point of entrance to Europe, which is in high demand among European, as well as Chinese consigners. Thus, we count on the increase of transit volumes between China and Finland in both directions. Moreover, the route is developing due to the high demand for such shipments in Scandinavian countries. Without doubt, regular shipments and a stable schedule will become important advantages of the service.”

Kouvala

Close to Helsinki lies Railgate Finland in Kouvala, which is to become the largest terminal in the Tehola-Kullasvaara area of Finland. It is currently expanding with the Rail Road Terminal. This project was launched in 2015 and is now gaining momentum, as it has received considerable EU funding. Moreover, the terminal in Kouvala will be able to facilitate trains with a length between 800 to 1,100 metres from 2022.

Also Kouvala is a destination on the New Silk Road, with a train service to and from Xi’an in China. The train has been running successfully since November 2017 and now runs almost every week. Aleksandra Turunen is Account Manager at Kouvola Innovation Oy and will be speaking at the RailFreight Summit in Gdansk, which takes place on 15 and 16 May. Here, she will present the huge opportunities of the terminal to the Nordic and also to the Central European market.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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