The freight company Operail is at odds with its owner, the Estonian state, over the possibility of transporting goods from russia or belarus. The company wants to have this opportunity as it has already lost half of its volumes this year. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to RailFreight.


Operail announced last week that it plans to transport nickel from russia to Finland as the Finnish national railway company VR has stopped all shipments to and from russia. In response, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that Operail should drop any russian-related business, whether or not it is legally correct.

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The board of Operail specified that, if necessary, they would continue the transportation of russian or belarusian cargo. It is briefly explained that the company’s goal is to conduct a profitable and efficient economic activity and maintain the capacity of the Estonian railway infrastructure while complying with all sanctions and phasing out business relations with russian and belarusian entrepreneurs, if necessary. According to the board, this year the company has fulfilled these tasks. But the complete cessation of the transportation of goods of russian origin will lead to a reduction in the volume of cargo transportation by another 65-70% on top of what has already been lost this year.

Operail traffic volumes in Estonia and Finland for the first nine months of this year amounted to 5.2 million tons. This is 48% less than in the same period in 2021. More than a hundred employees were laid off due to a decrease in the volume of cargo transportation.

“The reason for the decrease in the volume of cargo transportation is the sanctions of Estonia and the European Union against the aggressor countries. Due to sanctions, the transit of russian fertilizers and blarusian oil products through Estonia has been stopped,” Operail said in a statement. By gradually reducing the transportation of goods from russia, rather than stopping it abruptly, the company seeks to reduce the associated damage.

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