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Operail Is to Stop Transportation of Russian and Belarusian Goods from January 1

Operail Is to Stop Transportation of Russian and Belarusian Goods from January 1
photo: Vagunid Autor / Operail/Operail Is to Stop Transportation of Russian and Belarusian Goods from January 1
20 / 12 / 2022

Estonian authorities have banned the state railway company Operail from transporting Russian and Belarusian goods from January 1, 2023. The order was signed by Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Reina Sikut.

The management of Operail was instructed to "assess the ethics of commercial relations" with Russia and Belarus and gradually abandon them, "replacing them with new business areas."

It is reported that in October, Estonia tightened the rules for the transportation of goods across the border with Russia following the eighth package of EU sanctions. Restrictions affected the transportation of personal care products, soap, backpacks, women's bags and clothing.

On December 6, it became known that Operail wants to engage in freight transportation of Russian nickel in Finland, as it did not fall under sanctions. However, these plans were criticized by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu.

"This business is legally permissible, but the question is whether it is morally acceptable for a company owned by the taxpayers of the Republic of Estonia. In this regard, I would remain in an unequivocally negative position," Reinsalu said.

The company responded that it could not make "economically harmful decisions" and "did not violate the official formulation of the owner's expectations." Chairman of the Board Raul Toomsalu stressed that Operail had no business in Russia.

It is noted that recently, the financial situation of Operail has deteriorated significantly: losses for the first nine months of this year amounted to 3.5 million euros. During the year, the volume of cargo transportation has halved, and if the company stops transporting all goods of Russian origin, it may fall by another 65-70%. Currently, about 400 people work in Operail. The company has laid off more than 100 employees this year and will cut another 60 amid a partial curtailment of business operations.

Source: ERR

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