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Finland informs EU transportation ministers of Russia’s plans to alter container traffic

Finland informs EU transportation ministers of Russia’s plans to alter container traffic

Press release 09.06.2009 14.10 fi en

The Federal Customs Service of Russia is preparing a draft decree for the Russian government that will shift the transport of containers 20 feet or larger arriving in Russia to sea or rail modes. The draft decree would apply to import and transit container shipments coming to Russia via Finland, Estonia, Latvia and the Ukraine.

On Thursday 11 June in Luxembourg, Finnish Minister of Transport Anu Vehviläinen informed EU transport ministers about the effects that the decree would have on freight traffic from the EU to Russia.

"I think it's prudent from a climate policy and logistical standpoint to make as many shipments by rail as possible, but shifting container shipments to rail can't be done with a last-minute administrative decision," states Minister Vehviläinen.

In Finland's view the decree would affect shipments being made throughout the EU. In practice this scheme would paralyze freight traffic along the entire eastern border, as railroads do not have the capacity or rolling stock to carry such large volumes of containers to Russia. In 2008 approximately 200,000 containers were transported through Finland alone; only 7,000 (approx. 4%) of these were carried by rail.

Further information: Director-General, Juhani Tervala, tel. +359 9 160 28482, +358 50 552 7260, Director of Unit for Logistics and Russia Cooperation Silja Ruokola, +359 9 160 28367, +358 40 580 0894, Counsellor Jaana Heikkinen, +359 9 160 28628, +358 40 356 5670 (press attaché in Luxembourg)