Operail containers

ESTONIA: National rail freight operator Operail says 2022 has brought ‘complicated circumstances’, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine impacting on its operations. The management board is taking steps to find replacements for sanctioned traffic and to direct its wagons on lease away from high-risk regions.

‘Despite the unexpected events at the beginning of the year and an economic environment that quickly became challenging throughout Europe, I am convinced that the group will successfully adjust to the circumstances, and that Operail continues to be the leading rail expert in Estonia, as well as a trustworthy partner to its clients’, said Chairman of the management board Raul Toomsalu on June 27.

Operail recorded revenue of €73m in 2021, up 12% on the previous year. Increased volumes and improved efficiency saw EBITDA up 16% to €17·2m. Net profit without extraordinary items was up 43% to nearly €4m, although extraordinary items including write-down of assets led to a loss of €5m.

Preparations for privatisation involved the legal separation of the business lines for freight transport in Estonia, freight transport in Finland, rolling stock leasing and rolling stock maintenance and repair.

’We are glad to conclude that we have been on the right course so far, and that we have achieved the best EBITDA result in the group’s history’, said Toomsalu. ‘The key contributor here was the wagon lease business line.’ At the end of the year, 94% of the lease fleet was covered by contracts.

Container volumes in Estonia increased to 56 429 TEU, up 26% on the previous year. Freight transport in Finland had its first full year of operation, with traffic totalling 1 million tonnes.