On Thursday 11 June in Luxembourg, Finnish Minister of Transport Anu Vehviläinen informed EU transport ministers about the effects that the decree would have on freight traffic from the EU to Russia.
The Federal Customs Service of Russia is preparing a draft decree for the Russian government that will shift the transport of containers 20 feet or larger arriving in Russia to sea or rail modes. The draft decree would apply to import and transit container shipments coming to Russia via Finland, Estonia, Latvia and the Ukraine.
"I think it's prudent from a climate policy and logistical standpoint to make as many shipments by rail as possible, but shifting container shipments to rail can't be done with a last-minute administrative decision. I'm deeply concerned about the impacts that this scheme would have on economic relations between the European Union and Russia as well as co-operation in the transport sector. The draft decree on container traffic would create a major obstacle to international trade," states Minister Vehviläinen.
Minister Vehviläinen emphasises that the container decree would hinder transports throughout the EU. At worst this scheme would paralyze all freight traffic bound for Russia via Finland, as the railroads do not have the rolling stock or rail capacity to handle such a large volume of containers, considering the new requirement to use rail modes only. In 2008 approximately 200,000 containers were transported through Finland alone; only 7,000 (approx. 4%) of these were carried by rail.