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UPM Plywood, VR slash rail transport emissions

UPM Plywood, VR slash rail transport emissions
Around 40 percent of Finland's rail network is non-electrified (photo courtesy VR Group).

In Finland, UPM Plywood, part of forest industry major UPM, and national railway operator VR Group have agreed that VR will replace the fossil diesel it uses with renewable diesel to the same extent as the renewable diesel used to transport plywood from the UPM Pellos mill in Finland. The agreement, together with a more efficient operating model, will reduce the total emissions of UPM's "WISA" plywood transport in Finland by 24 percent.

Located in Ristiina, UPM Pellos transports plywood by rail to a warehouse in Kouvola and to the port in Kotka.

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 Plywood is constantly striving to reduce its carbon footprint. Emissions in the supply chain are mainly generated from raw material sourcing and product transport. 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, said Juha Vallittu, Logistics Manager at UPM.

First renewable diesel contract

Only about 60 percent of Finland’s rail network is electrified, so other responsible alternatives to electricity are needed. This is the first renewable diesel contract for VR’s rail logistics and will enable almost zero transport emissions for customers.

Renewable diesel is produced in Finland by, amongst others, UPM Biofuels at its Lappeenranta refinery using crude tall oil (CTO), a by-product from its pulp production.

Our goal is to offer our customers responsible solutions and to continuously develop new operating models together. 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 non-electrified lines, said Joni Lehtonen, Commercial Director at VR Transpoint.

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