23rd International Exhibition for Transport and Logistics Services and Technologies
17 - 19 April 2018 • Russia, Moscow, Crocus Expo, Pavilion 3

More traffic in the high north

The share of timber and wood products is significant in trade between Finland and Russia. From 2018 onwards RZD and Fenniarail are set to intensify their collaboration efforts and transport additional goods to Finnish ports. The mode of transport of choice in this part of northern Europe is the railway.

The forests’ green gold traditionally plays a major role in trade between ­Russia and Finland. A private Finnish operator has now started meeting demand for the railway transportation of timber, pulp and paper to Russia.

The Finnish railway enterprise Fennia­rail already carries out existing transport orders from Patokangas in northern Fin­land as well as from Russia to Kotka (Fin­land), and recently entered into some additional agreements. The railway enterprise will transport chipboard, as is the case with the Patokangas contract, from the lumber mill Lappi Timber’s Kajaani plant to the ports of Kotka, on the Gulf of Finland, and Oulu, on the Gulf of Bothnia. Fenniarail, which has been in business since 2009, is the first private operator in Finland’s railfreight segment.

Fenniarail achieved its effective breakthrough in May 2017, when its signed a contract with UPM-Kymmene, one of Europe’s largest timber and paper corporations. From January 2018 onwards Fennia­rail timber trains will operate from Karelia (­Russia) to Lappeenrante and Kouvola, via the Finnish border crossings of Vanikkala and Imatrankoski. The Russian rail ­company RZD will drive the trains to Finland at all four of the border crossings (Vartius, Niirala, Imatrankoski and Vanikkala).

Ever more services to and from Russia
The company is planning to transport 2 million cbm of timber annually, with the concomitant contract set to run for eight years; it includes an option to extend it by four years. From 2018 onwards Fenniarail will thus already handle 10% of Finland’s railfreight operations to and from Russia.

Fenniarail will cope with the challenges posed by the temperatures and weather conditions at these latitudes by deploying three six-axled diesel locomotives with a rating of 1550 kW from the Dr 18 series of the Czech manufacturer CZ Loko.

Two more of the units are set to be delivered and additional staff recruited in autumn, to enable the firm to meet strong demand. All of the routes are equipped with overhead lines, apart from the short stretch between Imatrankoski and Imatra and the rail spurs.  

The source of news is ITJ