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Finnish Railway Operator VR Group Decided to Sell All Assets in Russia and Is Aiming for the Fastest Possible Shutdown of Traffic of Goods Between Russia and Finland

Finnish Railway Operator VR Group Decided to Sell All Assets in Russia and Is Aiming for the Fastest Possible Shutdown of Traffic of Goods Between Russia and Finland
photo: VR Group/Finnish Railway Operator VR Group Decided to Sell All Assets in Russia and Is Aiming for the Fastest Possible Shutdown of Traffic of Goods Between Russia and Finland
04 / 05 / 2022

On 6 April, the Board of Directors of VR Group decided to stop freight traffic between Russia and Finland, and based on this, the company has prepared a plan to shut down traffic, in consultation with customers and taking into account the security of supply. The termination of contracts under the plan has been initiated, and the traffic will cease completely by the end of the year at the latest.

The plan covers VR's mandatory legislation and other legal matters, customer contracts, and security of supply issues. VR is aiming for the fastest possible shutdown of traffic and has today started to terminate customer contracts but some of the traffic may continue until the end of the year following the terms of termination if the customer still requires it.

"We estimate that traffic will be reduced to about a third of the original level by the end of the summer. Some customers want to continue traffic until the end of the notice period, but we are continuing negotiations on stopping traffic faster than this. In any case, all Russian freight traffic operated by VR will end by the end of the year at the latest," says Topi Simola, Acting Managing Director of VR Group.

For the time being, Western sanctions do not apply to rail transport between the EU and Russia, so the termination of VR's freight transport contracts with its customers should, in principle, be handled in a manner specified in the contracts and negotiated with the customers. On a customer-by-customer basis, traffic can be stopped immediately, if the customer agrees to it. The agreements with Russian railways (RZD) will end at the same time as the ending of traffic.

Any sanctions and further restrictions will be decided by the European Union. In its operations, VR is strictly following the sanction decisions, as well as all other legislation and official instructions. If new sanctions enter into force, the timetable for halting the rest of Russian traffic will accelerate accordingly.

VR will divest its affiliates and subsidiaries in Russia related to freight transport.

VR Group has also initiated negotiations for the sale or liquidation of its Finnish-associated companies, ContainerTrans Scandinavia (CTS) and Freight One Scandinavia (FOS). In addition, VR Group has started negotiations to sell its Russian subsidiary Finnlog.

CTS is a company providing container transport and forwarding services between Finland and Russia, and other CIS countries and Asia, of which VR owns 50 percent and JSC TransContainer 50 percent.
FOS is a logistics company specializing in wagon load and full train shipments between Finland, Russia, and the CIS countries, of which VR owns 50 percent and JSC Freight One (PGK) also 50 percent.

Finnlog is a Russian subsidiary of VR, which has leased wagons to VR Transpoint's key customers in Finland and operated wagons in import wood traffic between Russia and Finland.

In 2021, VR Group already sold the operations of Transpoint International (FI) Oy, which carried out international road transport operations in both Finland and Russia, to Avind International Ltd.

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