Rail and Carriers

The new rail shuttle, loaded with sawn timber in magenta-colored ONE containers, will arrive in Gothenburg on Aug. 30.

New Rail Shuttle from Middle Sweden to Port of Gothenburg Boosts Forest Product Exports

Aug. 30, 2021 - A new rail shuttle is about to begin transporting timber products from Malungsfors in Dalarna to Asia via the Port of Gothenburg. The new shuttle will generate substantial carbon savings and logistical benefits, consolidating the port as the principal hub for the export of Swedish timber products.

The driving force behind the newly established rail shuttle is the Fiskarheden sawmill, working in close collaboration with the forwarding company Träfraktkontoret. The first train to depart will carry 32 40-foot containers from the Japanese shipping company ONE and will arrive at the Port of Gothenburg on 30 August.

Previously, timber products were transported by road via the Port of Gävle. The new arrangement via Gothenburg offers both logistical benefits and carbon savings. Transporting freight from the Fiskarheden facility in Malung-Sälen by rail to the Port of Gothenburg and on to the final destination in Japan reduces the carbon footprint of each container from 406 to 207 kilos of carbon dioxide per TEU (20-foot container)*.

Fiskarheden – which produces more than 370,000 cubic metres of sawn timber per year, of which more than 90% is purchased outside Sweden – has invested heavily in the transformation of the rail terminal in Malungsfors to facilitate container handling. They are now all set to go with a modern, highly efficient facility.

“The fact that we can handle and stuff containers here in Malungsfors is a major step forward. It is a long-term investment that will open up new markets for us via the Port of Gothenburg and it is definitely the right path to follow in our ambition to reduce our climate footprint,” said Magnus Larsson, Fiskarheden chief executive.

“It is an impressive and highly focused investment that we are undertaking here in Malungsfors. It is inspiring to see that many companies in the forest industry are choosing the Port of Gothenburg to a greater extent and that the port can contribute to reinforcing the international competitiveness of the forest industry by offering frequent departures, an efficient, climate-smart service, and direct transportation to the continent,” said Richard Mellgren, Senior Business Development Manager at the Gothenburg Port Authority.

High Demand for Swedish Forest Products

The forest industry has for a long time been a cornerstone of Swedish basic industry with annual exports totalling 145 billion kronor (2020)**. More than 80% of Swedish forest products are sent abroad (23.4 million tonnes in 2020), making Sweden the fifth-largest forest product exporter in the world. The trend in Sweden has been positive for many years and particularly so in recent times with exports rising by 6% since 2018.***

The use of wood in a variety of sectors, including the construction industry, is growing as a more climate-smart alternative to steel and concrete. New areas of use are emerging with forest products replacing plastic and other non-degradable materials in the manufacturing of clothing, chemicals, hygiene products, and technical components.

According to Magnus Larsson, a whole series of factors are coming together to make Swedish forest products particularly attractive on the world market.

“The trademark of Swedish forest products is quality. Slow-growing trees produce high-quality raw material with a good structure, complemented by the first-rate delivery assurance offered by Swedish forest product companies.”


* According to calculations from IVL, Swedish Environmental Institute.

** Swedish Forest Industries Federation.

*** Statistics Sweden.

SOURCE: Port of Gothenburg


Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern to Reopen Pennsylvania Intermodal Facility

Aug. 13, 2021 - Norfolk Southern today announced plans to reopen its intermodal facility in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, creating capacity to support economic growth and help ease supply-chain congestion that has slowed the flow of commerce across all modes of the U.S. transportation sector.

Effective Sept. 10, the railroad plans a gradual phase-in of business at the Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility, starting with a lane of domestic intermodal traffic that currently moves between Norfolk Southern intermodal facilities in Memphis and Rutherford, in South Central Pennsylvania. Greencastle will provide additional terminal capacity and help to improve service as demand for the railroad's robust franchise continues to grow.

"With strong growth in volume driven by e-commerce and a recovering economy, we believe the timing is right to bring our Greencastle facility back online," said Chief Marketing Officer Alan Shaw. "We are excited about the new opportunities that this reopening provides for us and for our business partners across Pennsylvania and beyond. We are collaborating with our customers to support their business needs, offering shippers a more sustainable transportation solution and a commitment to best-in-class service."

Norfolk Southern opened the Greencastle facility in January 2013 as part of its Crescent Corridor initiative, a public-private partnership designed to convert freight from highway to rail to ease congested roadways and reduce carbon emissions while creating opportunities for jobs and economic development. Under the initiative, the railroad also constructed intermodal terminals in Birmingham, Charlotte, and Memphis as part of a 2,500-mile rail corridor from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. The company idled the Greencastle terminal in 2019 for business reasons, while leaving open the possibility of resuming operations if market conditions changed.

A combination of factors, including a rapid rise in e-commerce, strong market demand, and pandemic-driven supply chain changes, figured into the decision to reopen Greencastle. The added capacity at Greencastle is expected to reduce terminal congestion and improve network fluidity across Pennsylvania.

The Greencastle terminal has the capacity for an estimated 100,000 shipping container lifts annually. A lift occurs every time a container is lifted onto or off of a rail car. The first phase of traffic at Greencastle is expected to generate around 50,000 lifts.

SOURCE: Norfolk Southern


VR Group wood chip wagons

Finnlog Expanding Its Operations with 35 New Wood Chip Wagons

June 14, 2021 - Finnlog, the Russian subsidiary of VR Group, is expanding its operations with 35 new wood chip wagons that will allow for importing wood chips from Russia to Finland. The company is investing in the additional wood chip wagons that will import chips from Russia to the Metsä Group pulp mill in Joutseno.

The majority of the imported wood chips are from Metsä Group’s Svir sawmill.

“Finnlog’s operations have been launched with a flying start, and there is clearly demand for the import traffic service model offered by the company among our Finnish customers in industry. The wood chip wagons expand our selection and increase our competitiveness very well,” said Martti Koskinen, Senior Vice President at VR Transpoint.

Finnlog is active in import transport between Finland and Russia providing specialised in the wagon operating services of eastern traffic. The company, which was established in 2019, now has a fleet of about 350 wagons that are available to VR Transpoint’s key customers.

Finnlog’s operating model is based on developing service solutions based on customer needs in accordance with VR Transpoint’s core activities. For example, Metsä Group is leasing Finnlog’s wagons for their own logistical needs. This allows Metsä Group to prepare their own transport plans that are realised by professionals in the railway industry.

“Finnlog’s aim is to continue expanding its operations to new customers and product groups. We are currently in the process of negotiations with several customers. There is demand for import traffic from Russia and a lot of potential, so we are also investing in this,” Koskinen noted.

VR Transpoint is operating 300 freight trains per day in domestic and foreign traffic offering wide-ranging fleet of equipment for transporting both goods and raw materials. The transport operator is providing transport services that are focused on exportation of products and raw materials.

The company has long-term relationships with Russian Railways and Russian wagon operators and other companies offering rail logistics services tailored for tis customers involving the entire logistics chain with supplementary services.



Maersk First Block Train

A.P. Moller - Maersk First Block Train from Southern West Europe to Asia

June 17, 2021 - This new Maersk´s intermodal service has moved its first 37 x 40 containers in 32 days. The cargo was sent by truck from Cartagena, Spain, to Madrid during May. From there left via block train to Duisburg, Germany, and from there all the way to Hefei, China, using Małaszewicze, Poland as the EU exit point. Final destination is Nansha, capital of Guangdong Province, where the block train will arrive by the end of June.

“There is a limited ocean capacity right now on the eastbound services. In our constant effort to cater for our customers’ needs, we have tailored a solution for an important chemical company, integrating various transport modes to provide them high flexibility as well as reliability to transport their chemical products,” explains Javier Marin, South West Europe and Maghreb Head of Intermodal at Maersk.

Transporting chemical cargo needs extra dedication as it requires high levels of complexity. Intercontinental rail is a good choice and can add value and alternative solution to chemicals supply chain, securing greater resilience.

For this first of its kind eastbound block train from Southern West Europe to Asia, Maersk has partnered with RTSB, the leading railway operator along the Eurasian corridor.

“We will continue to work with rail partners to provide fast and reliable service to our customers. This intercontinental block train has been able to stand by its schedule, delivery times and swift transit clearance on time, creating firm ground for further expansion of transcontinental transit. To the extent that, we are currently working on arranging another one to Shanghai, in this case with 41x 40 containers,” adds James Seale, Product Manager at Maersk.

Maersk continues scaling up its service to meet the growing demand of all our customers on rail. In fact, A.P. Moller - Maersk train services between Asia and Europe todays serves 30 different countries across multiple routes both east and west bound.

SOURCE: A.P. Moller - Maersk


Norske Skog Saugbrugs and Bergene Holm Reduce Emissions by Moving From Trucks to Train

Norske Skog - wood chips by railJune 8, 2021 - The transport of timber and wood chips between Larvik and Norske Skog Saugbrugs in Halden has long taken place using trucks. Norske Skog is now using trains on the stretch, which will significantly reduce CO2 emissions from the transport.

The train line will transport timber and wood chips from Bergene Holm in Amundrod near Larvik to Norske Skog Saugbrugs in Halden. The transport to the east will consist of an approximate 50/50 split between wood chips from the sawmill at Amundrod and pulpwood from surrounding forests. In return, Bergene Holm will transport sawn timber from the Halden area to the sawmill at Amundrod.

“Norske Skog Saugbrugs works actively to streamline the flow of goods in and out of the factory at the same time as we have set high sustainability goals. With the railway freight of wood chips from Larvik to Halden, we will remove 800 truck loads from the roads. This is a good traffic safety measure, but will also be an excellent environmental improvement as CO2 emissions are reduced,” says Kjell Arve Kure, CEO of Norske Skog Saugbrugs.

Thanks to Norske Skog Saugbrug's strategy of moving transport from road to rail, by the end of 2021 the company will annually have a total of 7 500 fewer lorries on Norwegian roads compared with 2015. Following the introduction of all transport measures, Norske Skog Saugbrugs will have reduced CO2 overall emissions for inbound timber and wood chip logistics by just over 25 per cent.

Erland Lokken, CEO of Bergene Holm, explained, “Bergene Holm transports 7-800 lorries from the factory in Larvik to Norske Skog Saugbrugs. Using the train both directions between the proposed terminal in Larvik and to Halden will provide environmentally friendly and efficient transport between the mills.

“Today's terminal in Skien is not an appropriate or environmentally efficient location for Bergene Holm as it is located in the wrong geographical direction and increased transport distances and costs result in negative environmental accounts. The train will also contribute to securing the raw material supply to the sawmill in Larvik by allowing sawn timber to be returned,” Lokken added.

Norske Skog's transition from road to rail has already begun, made possible by previously completed rebuilding to increase the capacity for receiving industrial chips in Halden. The train transport from Amundrod to Norske Skog Saugbrugs started already on 20 November 2020, but requires further measures to reduce transport costs. The most important measure is to move the loading and unloading station from Borgestad to Larvik Harbor. The Port of Larvik has applied to Larvik Municipality for permission to do so. The municipality's processing of the application will be completed with meetings of the chairmanship and the municipal council, on 9 and 16 June, respectively.

In addition to lower greenhouse gas emissions, traffic safety will also benefit from Norske Skog's initiative by removing thousands of trucks from the roads. Locally, the measures will also contribute to reduced airborne dust and less emissions of exhaust in places such as Oslo and Halden.

About Norske Skog Saugbrugs

Norske Skog Saugbrugs has 400 employees, turnover of approximately NOK 2.0 billion, and production capacity of 330 000 tonnes SC magazine paper targeting markets in Europe and North America. Saugbrugs produces 2.0 million normal cubic metres of biogas annually.

SOURCE: Norske Skog

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