Rail freight volumes dropped by 43% in Estonia in 2023
Rail freight in Estonia has taken a hit. Transport volumes dropped by 43 per cent on a yearly basis in comparison to 2022. According to the Estonian statistics agency, the drop can mostly be attributed to the disappearance of East-West freight traffic.
Estonia recorded a decrease in rail freight volumes during all months of 2023. In total, Estonia transported 10,1 million metric tonnes of rail freight last year, which marks a 43 per cent decrease in comparison to the previous year. Estonian railways were not the only mode of transport to face such problems, as Estonian ports saw freight volumes drop by 31 per cent.
The country recorded a rail freight volume peak in 2021, when Estonian railways reached a turning point. Freight turnover in 2023 totalled 766,3 million tonne-kilometres, down from 1,287 billion tonne-kilometres in 2022.
No East-West traffic
Freight volumes started declining more quickly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as East-West freight traffic began to dry up. In 2021, Estonia transported 9,5 million tonnes of transit goods. A year later, transit volumes amounted to merely 3,8 million tonnes and reached 2,1 million tonnes last year. Volumes of petroleum goods dropped in particular, and were overtaken by metal ores and food products as the most common transit goods.