Norway arranges container train for moving waste to Sweden

2022/03/16 at 5:28 PM

Several Norwegian companies have joined forces to arrange a new container train. It is completely dedicated to moving waste from northern Norway to northern Sweden. The new intermodal link runs via the Malmbanan railway on the Narvik-Kiruna section, which is usually used for transporting iron ore.

Pilot container train delivers waste from Narvik to Kiruna, source: Mattias Forsberg / Hålogaland Ressursselskap (HRS)

Up to 1,500 trucks will be annually removed from the roads of northern Norway. Such a result is expected to be set after arranging a new container train between Norway and Sweden. It links Narvik and Kiruna, both are located on the Malmbanan line, a cross-border freight-dedicated railway in the northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula. Usually, the route is used mainly for moving iron ore from the Kiruna deposit to the ports of Narvik and Luleå. In March, the railway has received a new promising freight.

A unique test train was launched on 8 March from Narvik. It consisted of 10 containers loaded with waste. The shipment was delivered to the heating plant of the Tekniska Verken company in Kiruna, northern Sweden. To arrange a new service, four Norwegian companies teamed up: Hålogaland Ressursselskap (HRS), a waste and recycling company in the northern part of Norway; Arctic Train, a railway operator on the Norwegian section of the Malmbanan line; CargoNet, the Norwegian national rail freight operator, and Kiruna Cargo, which was responsible for loading and unloading the containers.

First rail shipment of waste from Narvik towards Kiruna, source: Mattias Forsberg / Hålogaland Ressursselskap (HRS)

Long-term goal

All the initiators of the Narvik-Kiruna waste train expect that the new service will soon become regular. On the one hand, HRS is planning to reduce its carbon footprint by removing up to 1,500 trucks per year from the E10 highway between Narvik and Kiruna. Moreover, rail transport provides more stable delivery from Norway to Sweden compared to road freight. “In the worst periods of bad weather, we struggle to get the waste across the border, and then trains will be a favourable means of transport. The train runs mostly anyway,” said André Christensen, marketing manager and acting general manager of HRS Miljø.

On the other hand, the pilot container train is the first step towards redirecting the waste logistics from northern Norway. In 2024, the Kiruna heating plant will stop burning waste and the Norwegian municipalities in the vicinity of Narvik will have to look for a new location. “Rail transport opens up opportunities to send the waste elsewhere further away, so the test is useful anyway,” added André Christensen.

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