Europe’s mining giant scrapes for options to secure more rail capacity

Image: Shutterstock. Tommy Alven

LKAB, the largest mining company in Sweden (and Europe), relies heavily on rail freight transport along the Iron Ore Line, which connects the Swedish port of Luleå to the Norwegian port of Narvik. However, the company is in dire need of additional capacity, and it is now considering the option of purchasing buses to remove passenger trains along some sections of the Iron Ore Line.

A hint towards this initiative was given in April, and now things seem to be moving forward. “LKAB is having discussions with the passenger train operators about this solution”, a spokesperson from the company told RailFreight.com. LKAB is now looking to identify which sections of the Iron Ore Line and which periods would be most suitable for the initiative, but there is no time frame yet in place.

The lack of capacity along the Iron Ore Line, also known as Malmbanan is having a significant impact on LKAB’s business. The company is even considering closing one of their facilities, either in Kiruna or Svappavaara, with hundreds of jobs at risk. The situation concerning this railway was made even more complicated by two derailments, which interrupted rail freight traffic for almost three months between December and February. On a brighter note, the Swedish government recently decided to prioritise and prepare upgrades that would increase capacity along the Iron Ore Line.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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