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VR, UPM Plywood leverage renewable diesel for more sustainable rail logistics

Photo: VR

UPM announced April 19 that UPM Plywood and the Finnish railway operator VR have agreed that VR will replace the amount of fossil diesel it uses in its rail traffic to transport UPM Plywood’s products from its Pellos plant to Kouvola and Kotka with renewable diesel.


The agreement, together with a more efficient operating model, will reduce the total emissions of WISA® plywood transport in Finland by 24 percent.


In addition to the new transport contract, UPM Pellos has improved its rail-transport operating model by increasing the filling rate of trains and improving traction efficiency, which means using one locomotive instead of two.


UPM Pellos is located in Ristiina and transports plywood by rail to the warehouse in Kouvola and to the port in Kotka.


“UPM Plywood is constantly striving to reduce its carbon footprint,” said Juha Vallittu, UPM’s logistics manager.


“Emissions in the supply chain are mainly generated from raw material sourcing and product transport,” Vallittu added.


“The more efficient operating model for rail transport in Pellos and the introduction of renewable diesel are good examples of constructive cooperation between companies to reduce emissions in a concrete way,” Vallittu said.


About 60 percent of Finland’s rail network is electrified, so it is necessary to find responsible alternatives to electricity for the other 40 percent.


This is the first hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) contract for VR’s rail logistics, which will bring the customer’s transport emissions to almost zero. 


“Our goal is to offer our customers responsible solutions and to continuously develop new operating models together,” said Joni Lehtonen, the commercial director at VR Transpoint.


“As other alternative-propulsion technologies for rail transport, such as battery and hydrogen locomotive technology, are still in the development phase, biofuel is currently the most practical solution for nonelectrified lines,” Lehtonen said.


UPM Plywood is part of the UPM Group, which is committed to reducing emissions from its value chains by 30 percent by 2030.


VR is involved in halving transport emissions by 2030 and working towards a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035.


Both companies are committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.



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