Finland suspends rail freight traffic with Russia

VR Transpoint, the logistics branch of VR Group, suspended rail freight traffic to and from Russia on Sunday, 27 March. VR Group is Finland’s government-owned railway company. The stoppage is in force since Sunday noon and is a result of the sanctions on Russia. 

The Finnish company had a dedicated subsidiary, Finnlog, to transport forest products to and from Russia. In addition, it had established two joint ventures, ContainerTrans Scandinavia (CTS) with TransContainer and Freight One Scandinavia (FOS) with OAO “PGK” for traffic between Finland, Asia and CIS countries. These international services used the Russian route heavily. As a result, stopping traffic to and from Russia could severely impact the company’s volumes.

Obliged to comply with sanctions

After the first EU sanctions on Russia were announced, VR Transpoint continued business through the country. However, this is not the case anymore, especially after Russian Railways were included in the sanction lists, the company said.

“The continuation of freight traffic between Russia and Finland is no longer possible because of the sanctions imposed on Russian Railways (RZD). VR Group is obliged to comply with the sanctions imposed by the Western countries”, explained Martti Koskinen, senior vice president of VR Transpoint.

The most recent sanctions were imposed by the UK on 24 March. These sanctions include an asset freeze and an obligation to refrain from any transaction with Russian Railways. These sanctions lead to a situation where VR Transpoint can no longer continue transportation with Russia”, concluded Koskinen.

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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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