Finland rejects Russian call to change freight system

freight-shipFinland’s transport minister was joined by the Finnish hauliers’ lobby in rejecting a proposal by the Russian Federal Customs Service that wants to move the majority of regional container shipping off the road and onto trains and ships. The unanimous response was that such a shift would result in utter chaos.

“It is rather impossible to shift container shipping onto the railways and ships given that nearly all of it is currently being shipped by road,” said Antti Seppala of Finnish Transport and Logistics (SKAL), the organisation that represents operators and companies that transport goods by road, to the Helsinki Times.

“It would certainly result in chaos, at least in the short term,” he added, suggesting that officials working at Russian ports and rail crossings could not cope with such a drastic increase in the workload. The Russians are proposing to ship all containers over 20 feet long directly to Russian ports or via rail through bordering countries such as Finland.

Finnish Railways also rejected the Russian offer, but admitted the added business could prove welcome in the current economic climate. The Russians could choose to go ahead and put the proposal into effect this autumn. If that happens, Finnish Railways says it will rise to the occasion and see that the transport goes as smoothly as possible. As for now, the issue is set to go before a European Union panel.

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