Our operating environment is affected by various factors, such as the economic downturn, the energy crisis, Russia's war of aggression and climate change. New regulatory proposals, the extensive repair backlog of the transport network, planned infrastructure projects and the increased competition in rail traffic are also shaping our operating environment as well as the Finnish rail transport market and VR's operations in many ways.
VR to sell railworthy diesel locomotives
VR will sell five surplus railworthy diesel locomotives and aims to promote the growth of the railway market and competition in Finland. Registration for the auction for companies and associations will begin on 15 January.
We want to create a growing, customer-oriented and climate-friendly rail transport market in Finland, inviting more competition and new services. Our aim is to increase the share of rail traffic in modes of passenger transport to 10% (6.2% in 2019) and in freight traffic to 30% (22% in 2022). This requires sufficient investments in infrastructure.
It is evident that rail transport is the perfect mode of transport for the future as it can reduce emissions, promote the clean transition, expand commuting options and support Finland's security of supply and economic growth. We promote these goals in active social dialogue and in close cooperation with our various stakeholders.
Finnish railway market
In Finland, long-distance train traffic and freight train traffic are market-based business and freely competitive. Passenger train traffic applies the open access model based on EU regulation, wherein any competing operator can enter the railway market and there may be multiple operators on the same routes. Operators use their own rolling stock or that rented from commercial actors on the routes.
Regulations in the transport sector
Legislation and regulations applicable to the railway sector have a significant impact on how rail traffic is maintained and developed. The technical regulations of rail traffic and rolling stock are very detailed due to the goal of improving the safety of rolling stock, transport and the rail network. The national transport system plan (Traffic 12), in turn, will have a wide-ranging impact on the development of rail traffic in the near future.
Challenging global situation
Our operating environment has changed significantly over the past years. The uncertain global situation, in particular the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, high energy prices, the economic decline and accelerating inflation have had a negative impact on our business operations.
Finnish railway network
The Finnish railway network, its maintenance and renovation are the responsibility of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. In total, the railway network spans nearly 6,000 kilometres, more than half of which is electrified. Almost 90% of the railway network is single-track, and the railway line is operated in both directions.
The future of rail transport
According to our vision, Finland will have a customer-oriented, growing and sustainable rail transport market in the 2030s. More competition and new services will have emerged in market-based traffic, publicly-funded contract traffic and freight traffic.
Megatrends support rail transport
Climate change is one of the central megatrends of our time and combatting it requires rail traffic to grow. The electric train is an environmentally friendly option because it produces less emissions and consumes less energy than other modes of transport. 95% of our passenger trains run on electricity with zero emissions, and rail traffic accounts for only 1% of all transport emissions.
We want to maintain active dialogue and cooperation with various stakeholders so that we are better able to meet the expectations placed on us and improve our services and operating conditions.