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March 31, 2022

VR Group restarts freight traffic to Russia

UK authorities clarified that the sanctions are not applicable to VR Group’s contracts.

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict


Finland’s national rail operator VR Group has restarted VR Transpoint’s eastern freight traffic to Russia, which was halted recently due to sanctions imposed by the UK on Russian Railways (RZD) in light of the Ukraine conflict.

Now, the company has resumed freight services between Helsinki, Finland, and Saint Petersburg, Russia.

VR Group confirmed that the sanctions are not applicable to the company’s contracts based on the clarification provided by the UK authorities.

VR Group president and CEO Lauri Sipponen said: “Since the decision last week, we have continued to discuss with the UK authorities and banks how binding the sanctions are for our company.

“The specific interpretation of the British authorities and banks is that the sanctions do not apply to our operations.

“Therefore, we can continue with the important railway export, import and transit traffic while keeping the Finnish export industry running.”

Meanwhile, the Allegro train service to St Petersburg will continue to be suspended until further notice by the group.

Sipponen further stated: “Possible sanctions and additional restrictions are decided by the authorities and we always act according to their instructions.”

The services offered by VR Transpoint are focused on the transportation of products and raw materials of the export industry.

Last year, VR Transpoint reported a transport volume of around 37 million tonnes. According to VR Group, freight between Finland and Russia represents nearly a third of this figure.

Last week, VR Group agreed to buy Arriva Sverige, which is said to be Sweden’s third-largest train operator that serves over 170 million passengers annually.

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