Will anyone transport nickel from Russia to Europe next year?
Finnish railway company VR will stop transporting nickel from Russia to Europe in 2023, as it announced a complete halt to all Russian cargo from January 1. However, the product is in great demand. While gas supply has required a massive shift in supplies in Europe this year, the same could happen to nickel supplies in 2023. Railway Supply magazine writes about this with reference to RailFreight.
Nickel is a high-demand commodity that is growing in demand as it is used in the battery industry. With the boom in the electric vehicle market, batteries are being produced in large quantities. Growing demand for nickel is a natural result. It could even replace lithium as the most wanted commodity in the battery industry.
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Therefore, it is not surprising that until now nickel has not been included in the list of goods subject to EU sanctions. “Western companies need it for the battery industry,” explains Estonian operator Operail. Theoretically, nickel can be transported, but Operail, like the Finnish carrier VR, will stop transporting Russian goods from January 1.
Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel is already anticipating a lack of supply decisions. The company is considering cutting nickel output by around 10% next year “as some European buyers shun Russian supplies and amid a potential surplus of the metal”
The company is currently shipping nickel to its Finnish Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta plant. The plant produces about 65,000 tons of nickel per year, which is 24% of the total output of Norilsk Nickel. In doing so, it supplies battery materials for a nearby BASF plant that plans to deliver 300,000 electric vehicles a year. The company is considering alternative options for delivering products to its Finnish plant. In addition to other operators, it is considering maritime transport.
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