First block train from Finland to India already on the move

The International North-South Transport Corridor through Azerbaijan and Iran.

The first container block train connecting Helsinki in Finland with the Nhava Sheva container port in India has already departed. It started on 21 June carrying 32 40-foot containers full of paper-based products from a Swedish customer. Currently, it travels through Russia and will also cross Azerbaijan. Its next stops will be Astara and the Bandar Abbas port in Iran.

At Bandar Abbas, cargo will be transhipped onto a ship and will follow a sea leg through the Indian Ocean to its final station. The train will take eight days until completing the route between Helsinki and Astara, situated at the Azerbaijan-Iran border.

Also read: India’s plan to become a leading rail freight force

The port of Bandar Abbas in Iran.

Moreover, according to RZD Logistics, which collaborates with Nurminen Logistics for the service, the train’s total transit time will be shorter than initially estimated. Specifically, as the Russian company said, transit time between Finland and India will not exceed 22 days.

Astara rail freight terminal in Iran, source: Azerbaijan Railways (ADY)

A milestone for Nurminen

Apart from connecting Finland and India by rail, the specific service is a milestone for Nurminen logistics for another reason. The Finnish company is “history’s first logistics operator who has sent a block train from Europe to India via the Western wing of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

The INSTC is a 7,200 kilometre-long freight route connecting India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road. The line should reduce journey times between Mumbai and Moscow from forty to fourteen days. The main objective of the corridor is to provide an alternative to the traditional routes carried out by sea through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean, and the Baltic Sea.

The line is already operative but will reach its full potential upon completion. The main missing link is the Rasht-Astara railway line in Iran. Two other vital links were delivered in 2018; one connecting Astara in Azerbaijan and the city with the same name in Iran, and another one connecting the Iranian cities of Rasht and Qazvin. Eventually, the infrastructure should be able to handle 15 million tonnes of freight per year.

Watch RailFreight Live

The railway line from Finland to India is in the news in our upcoming RailFreight Live show. You can watch the RailFreight Live show on Friday 2 July at 1pm CEST, or any time after this. If you subscribe to this channel, you will be notified. You can find the link below.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is the Chief Editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

4 comments op “First block train from Finland to India already on the move”

Jayashree Sairam|25.06.21|04:17

Nice to have alternatives to Suez canal, especially after witnessing the recent blockage and pile up.

Jagannatha Rao|25.06.21|04:45

Innovation is the key. To have alternatives, always helps. Less scope for monopoly and arm-twisting by a single entity.

suresh amirapu|25.06.21|05:29

Very nice development .. nice to know there is viable alternate to Suez for Eurpoean cargoes to India And vice versa

Pritis C Majumdar|25.06.21|09:31

It’s a day of great pleasure. Would be more happy if details of the Block Train composition is known including Power i.e.Electric Or Diesel power.

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