Three-day sanctions: Finland recommences freight trains to Russia
VR Transpoint, the Finnish state-owned rail freight operator, suspended shipments to Russia following the economic sanctions imposed by the West on that country. Meanwhile, the decision was implemented only for three days. After some clarification, the railway company has restored freight traffic to Russia.
“Due to the sanctions against the Russian railways (RZD), it is impossible to continue traffic to the east for the time being. VR Group is obliged to comply with the sanctions imposed by the West,” said Martti Koskinen, senior vice president of VR Transpoint. Therefore, VR Transpoint, a logistics subsidiary of VR Group, suspended freight trains to Russia starting from 12:00 on 27 March. The only exception was made for returning wagons from Finland to Russia.
The ban on cross-border rail freight traffic lasted only for three days. On Wednesday, 30 March, the Finnish undertaking relaunched freight trains to Russia. Such a settlement was implemented after carrying out consultations with the UK authorities. “According to the clarification of the British authorities and banks, the sanctions do not apply to our operations,” noted Lauri Sipponen, President and CEO of VR Group.
Meanwhile, the top Finnish railway manager added that sanctions could be imposed on moving some types of products. “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,” he added.
It is worth noting that Finland-Russia traffic generates about one-third of the total rail freight volumes in Finland. In 2021 VR Transpoint moved around 37 million tonnes of freight. At the same time, passenger train traffic between Finland and Russia is still banned.