VR Transpoint are a subsidiary of the VR Group. A government owned company based in Finland. Previously VR Transpoint had suspended traffic from Russia at the end of March. VR Group operates both freight and passenger services between Finland and Russia. Part of the railway group’s 250 Long-Disctance and 800 commuter rail journey’s per day. Removing the journey’s to and from Russia is not straight-forward due to contractual obligations.
Why cannot VR Transpoint just remove the trains from Russia
Presently the sanctions issued by the EU do not cover rail traffic between the EU and Russia. This means there is no legal basis not to honour customer contracts in place on these routes. VR Groups directors have confirmed their aim is to run down these contracts as quickly as possible. Without taking on new contracts they anticipate these will all be finalised over the coming months. Reducing freight traffic continually over the coming months as each contract expires.
For International cargo the route through Finland into Russia was well used and a strategically strong one. VR Transpoint’s partnership with Russian railways (RZD) was an integral part on this route.
China Road and Rail services to Europe
Does this affect other countries like China. China has successfully been pushing rail routes from China to Europe to help compete with sea & air. With Finland no longer an option for cargo passing from China through Russia and into Europe this will further hamper these routes. Russia cannot rail this cargo through Ukraine and with increasing isolation of Russia cargo travelling by road or rail could cease entirely. Almost all freight rail routes to Europe must pass through Russia. With Finland now cutting ties on this route it leaves little options for onward movement.