30 Mar 2022 12:55

Finland restoring freight rail service with Russia as of March 30

MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Finland is resuming freight railway services to and from Russia as of Wednesday.

"We previously announced that we would be suspending VR Transpoint's eastern freight traffic on 27 March 2022 as a result of the UK's sanctions against Russian Railways (RZD). However, according to the clarification we have received from the UK authorities, these sanctions do not apply to the VR Group's contracts. VR Transpoint's eastern freight traffic will resume on Wednesday, 30 March," VR Transpoint, a subsidiary of Finnish railway company VR Group, said in a press release.

"Since the decision last week, we have continued to discuss with the UK authorities and banks how binding the sanctions are for our company. The specific interpretation of the British authorities and banks is that the sanctions do not apply to our operations," VR Group CEO Lauri Sipponen was quoted as saying in the press release.

"Therefore, we can continue with the important railway export, import and transit traffic while keeping the Finnish export industry running. Sanctions are often imposed on persons and, through that, on consigners or owners of goods, and we will not transport anything that falls under the sanctions. Possible sanctions and additional restrictions are decided by the authorities and we always act according to their instructions," Sipponen said.

VR Transpoint's services are focused on transporting products and raw materials for export. VR Transpoint's railway transport volume in 2021 was approximately 37 million tonnes, and freight between Finland and Russia accounts for about a third of the total.

VR Transpoint announced earlier that it was suspending freight train traffic from Russia as of March 27.

VR Group suspended the Allegro passenger train service between Finland and Russia as of March 28.