Newest and largest terminal in Finland receives 1st train today
On Monday 15 May, the first train will roll onto the terminal grounds of Kouvola RRT, Finland’s latest logistics addition. The new rail and road terminal has been anticipated for quite a while but is now ready to welcome trains and trucks on a regular basis.
A train chartered with raw wood from the forest company UPM will make its first entry on Monday. The wood will be stored in the terminal for further distribution. This is one of the assets of the facility: it has a huge storage area and as such it can be an alternative handling point to the Finnish ports.
Kouvola connects to Helsinki in the west, to the port of Hamina Kotka in the south and to Vainikkala in the east, all within two hours. Although its initial focus was on transit traffic to and from Russia, its new emphasis on its role as a dry port for overseas traffic is nevertheless promising.
This is not only due to the strategic location. The terminal has two loading rail tracks with broad gauge and the longest tracks in Finland, reaching up to 1,100 metres in length. Apart from being the longest in Finland, with an axle weight of 25 tons, the tracks are also suitable for electric locomotives, while they facilitate the loading of trains without the need to split them.
The project has not been realised without challenges on the road. It was launched in 2015 and originally planned to be completed in 2022. However, the war in Ukraine changed the initial focus on traffic to and from Russia. Whereas the proximity to Russia and the broad gauge lines were seen as a main asset to handle volumes to and from China, this soon changed when most companies in Finland stopped transporting traffic to and from Russia.
These challenges may have led to a delay but not a change of plan. The terminal was completed and now ready for operations. “In the coming years, train traffic will increase. It creates demand for more efficient rail infrastructure. Train sizes are increasing, and new terminal solutions are needed to handle long trains. This need can now be met in Kouvola,” said project manager Tero Valtonen in an earlier interview.