Estonian Railways freight volume falls 20.8 percent due to COVID-19 crisis

A train at a level crossing.
A train at a level crossing. Source: ERR

Cargo transported on the infrastructure of the state-owned Estonian railway infrastructure company Estonian Railways in the first six months of 2020 declined 20.8 percent on year to 5.46 million tons.

The largest commodity group was fertilizer, which was transported in the total amount of 3.2 million tons and the amount of which increased by 7.6 percent compared to the same period last year.

Estonian Railways (Eesti Raudte) CEO Erik Laidvee told BNS: "The reason for the decrease in shipments in the first half of this year is clearly related to the COVID-19 crisis, which left its mark on both transit and container shipments."

He added a decrease in local oil shale transportation was also forecast and in the first half of the year no oil shale transportation took place on the infrastructure of Estonian Railways.

In addition to the increase in fertilizer transportation, the transportation of chemical goods on the infrastructure of Estonian Railways increased, the total volume of which was 730,000 tons, which is 12.4 percent more than in the previous year. A total of 690,000 tons, that is 56.2 percent less than last year, of liquid oil products were transported and 360,000 tons, or 4 percent less, of mineral fuels.

Altogether 2.38 million passengers traveled on the infrastructure of Estonian Railways in the first half of the year, which is 32.2 percent less than in the same period last year.

"Tourism and passenger transport were hit very hard during the coronavirus crisis, which is clearly reflected in both domestic and international transport figures. Nevertheless, we expect some recovery in passenger traffic in the second half of the year, as Elron has already restored normal traffic on most routes," Laidvee said.

This year, Estonian Railways will continue to invest in improving the traffic safety of the infrastructure and one of the company's goals is to increase the speed on the Tapa-Tartu and Tapa-Narva routes to 135 kilometers per hour so that Elron's trains can run from Tallinn to Tartu and Narva faster.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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