Environmental milestone: VR's first electric roundwood train arrived at Metsä Group's bioproduct mill

Environmental milestone: VR's first electric roundwood train arrived at Metsä Group's bioproduct mill
© vrgroup.fi

The collaboration between Metsä Group and VR has resulted in an efficient and seamless solution for transporting five million cubic meters of roundwood annually.

Metsä Group and VR Transpoint have launched electrically driven roundwood train transports to Metsä Group's Kemi bioproduct mill for a trial run. The first roundwood train arrived at the mill on 21 April, and five million cubic meters of roundwood will be transported to the mill by rail each year. The large volume of wood requires an efficient and environmentally friendly solution for receiving, loading, transporting by rail, and unloading at the mill. The companies have designed an efficient system that reduces emissions by 20% per cubic meter through effective rail transport.

The transports are operated by VR’s new electric and diesel locomotives. The Vectron electric locomotives can handle loads of up to 2,500 tonnes, which means approximately 20–25% more wood per train. The efficiency of the transport system is based on fine-tuned wagon rotation, where the same wagon body rotates between a given loading and unloading station. The time between two consecutive loadings, including all the stages, takes only half the time of an average roundwood transport. The bioproduct mill’s railway transports will require a total of more than 400 dedicated wagons.

“We have prepared this important project for several years in close cooperation, and we are finally ready to start the transports. In large-scale industrial investments, the efficiency of transports and smooth flow of traffic are key factors. Together with the customer, we have created a solution that seamlessly combines the mill’s operations and rail transports, bringing efficiency to transports,” said Eljas Koistinen, Senior Vice President, VR Transpoint.

Metsä Group’ bioproduct mill in Kemi is expected to start its operations in the third quarter of 2023. This is the second time that VR Transpoint has made a major investment in the forest industry, as Metsä Group also selected the company as its partner for pulp transport at the Äänekoski bioproduct mill in 2016.

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