Rail freight traffic Finland-Russia resumes

Three days after suspending traffic between Finland and Russia, VR Group can resume it. Effective from Wednesday, 30 March, the decision to restart rail freight operations to and from Russia results from further consultation with the UK authorities clarifying that sanctions do not apply to VR Group’s contracts and agreements.

The decision to suspend rail freight traffic with Russia was taken in the first place due to the sanctions imposed by the UK on 24 March. Including an asset freeze and an obligation to refrain from any transaction with Russian Railways, these sanctions seemed to be the end of any rail connection with Russia.

Traffic continues, but products could be excluded

VR Group, the government-owned railway company of Finland, continued consultation with UK authorities and banks even after the decision to suspend traffic. It became apparent, after all, that its operations did not need to freeze since the agreements signed with Russian parties were not subject to the sanctions.

“Since last week’s decision, we have continued discussions with the UK authorities and banks about the imposition of sanctions on our company. According to the British authorities and banks clarification, the sanctions do not apply to our operations”, explained the company.

However, the sanctions lists include specific legal entities and people who, for instance, own particular products. As a result, the VR Group will most probably need to abstain from transporting such products. “Sanctions are often imposed on people and thus on consignors or owners of goods, and we will not continue to transport them under the sanctions”, concluded the company.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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