Wagons in Russia.

EUROPE: Ahead of the expected imminent ratification of a bilateral agreement liberalising the market for cross-border rail freight between Finland and Russia, Finland’s Nurminen Logistics Group and Russia’s Rustranscom have announced the formation of NR Rail as a jointly-owned company to handle international traffic.

Nurminen said the end of national operator VR’s monopoly on traffic with Russia would be a ‘significant’ change, as this accounts for around a third of the estimated €450m Finnish rail freight market.

The agreement between Finland and Russia would allow rail transport undertakings in the European Economic Area to operate cross-border services on the Finnish network. However it would not open the Russian domestic market to EU operators, or open the Finnish market to Russian operators.

Rustranscom has a fleet of more than 44 000 wagons and is active in the rail transport of forestry and agricultural products. NR Rail plans to invest in modern locomotives in the second half of 2017, which would enable Nurminen Logistics to offer a comprehensive service including haulage, wagons, terminals and forwarding services at the Imatra, Niirala and Vainikkala border crossings.

‘Nurminen Logistics and Rustranscom are established industry operators, with both companies offering significant experience and expertise in their field’, said Olli Pohjanvirta, Chairman of Nurminen Rail. ‘With the creation of NR Rail, we will be able to enhance our operations on the eastern border. This offers a wealth of new opportunities for Finland’s logistics industry. NR Rail is set to be a big player in this sector’.