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Iggesund's Switch from Sea to Rail Shipments Helps Environment, Improves Service

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Since the end of June this year, Iggesund Paperboard, Sweden, reports that it has begun rerouting some shipments from its mill in Sweden from sea to rail. Before this summer, the company's flagship product Invercote was mainly transported to the European mainland by ship across the Baltic Sea. Now between 80,000 and 90,000 metric tpy are being transferred to the rail network. The amount corresponds to some 35% – 40% of the company's previous sea-borne shipments.

"It isn't just a matter of keeping our costs in check but also very much about improving our customer service," notes Christina Törnquist, director of Logistics, Iggesund Paperboard. "With the rail network, we can supply our customers in central and southern Europe more quickly and efficiently. The environment will also benefit. In terms of emissions per ton kilometer, the European rail network as a whole produces much less fossil carbon dioxide than Baltic Sea transports. The Swedish railway system in particular produces almost no fossil emissions because it is powered solely by renewable energy sources. In addition, our simulations show that by using rail, we should be able to halve our road shipments on the Continent – and thereby halve the associated exhaust emissions."

Despite the partial switch to rail, Törnquist says that Iggesund has no plans to completely abandon the maritime transport system that the company helped to build up. "However, the severe disruptions caused by the ice build-up in the Baltic during the past two winters made us realize that we must have alternative transport routes to make us less weather dependant."

Iggesund is coordinating its rail shipments with a number of other Swedish forest product companies that also want to find cost-efficient alternatives to sea-borne transport. "This joint project involves some very large-scale logistics," Törnquist says. "When fully implemented, the project will ship about 40% by volume of the total goods shipments by rail across the Öresund Bridge from Sweden to Denmark for onward destinations on the Continent."

The partial rerouting to the rail network required an investment of SEK 20 million (approximately EUR 2.2 million) at Iggesund Mill. The Holmen Group, to which Iggesund belongs, has also gone in as a part-owner of the rail shipping transport and logistics company, ScandFibre Logistics.


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