After a long preparatory phase, the changes planned to VR Transpoint’s rail logistics operations are now ready for implementation.
“We are now progressing simultaneously on a number of different fronts and implementing our large-scale investment plan,” says Tero Kosonen, VR Transpoint Rail Logistics Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
“We are investing with courage and a look to the future. We believe in the future and development of railway services.”
Investments are made based on developments in customer needs.
“If a customer has clear needs and a willingness to commit to using rail transport, we are willing and able to invest in their needs.”
All railway rolling stock investments are made for a period of 30–40 years.
“We are investing with courage and a look to the future. We believe in the future and development of railway services,” Kosonen emphasises.
Transport capacity is increasing
One of the objectives of the investment is to increase transport capacity with respect to current and future needs.
“For example, in raw wood transport raw wood transport, we are closely monitoring the developments in the market; what new projects are being planned, how the capacity of the current facilities is changed and how the implementation of new facilities is progressing. We can offer technical solutions in response to future demand.”
In industrial product transport, investments are made as required.
“Primarily, the current system will first be used to its full extent. We feel there is still potential for development in the current transport system. Together with our customers, the current model will be streamlined as far as possible, and as further needs arise, investments will be made as required.”
Kosonen also reminds that in addition to the number of wagons, the capacity of rail transport services is influenced by various other factors.
“Locomotives, HR resources and information systems are also crucial. We are now investing in all of these.”
Further areas of investment in the coming years
Vectron electric locomotives. The efficient and versatile Vectron electric locomotives are a cornerstone of the future transport system. The locomotives’ energy-efficiency, traction power, diesel-based operation and remote controllability can significantly improve various transport chains. The total value of the procurement is over EUR 300 million.
Replacement of diesel locomotives. Our old diesel locomotives will be replaced with new, modern locomotives that are efficient and fulfil modern standards. The minimum value of the procurement is EUR 100 million.
“Our strategy is to operate as much of our services as possible on electricity. However, we do also need diesel-operated vehicles. We want for all our diesel-operated locomotives to be modern and top class. Compared to our old locomotives, the new ones have better energy-efficiency, require less maintenance, have smaller emissions and their operation is more accurate and safe,” Kosonen lists.
Modular wagons. According to Kosonen, 2019 will see the breakthrough of modular vehicles. The first commercial contract on their use has already been made, and the new rolling stock will be implemented in production during the coming spring. Various different cargo space compositions may be installed onto the frame of the new, versatile Finnowagons. This type of frame enables more versatile transport services. The implementation of the new, modular wagons also frees up the current wagons for other types of use.
New raw wood wagons. 200 new SPS wagons will be implemented for raw wood transport. Additionally, approximately 100 reserve wagons have been serviced. Half of the new wagons will be implemented this year, the rest by the end of February.
Forest industry product transportation. The service life of approximately 100–150 wagons is extended annually with extensive maintenance work.
Investments in personnel. Driver training is currently ongoing and the application period for shunting yard personnel training has commenced.
“We are training new personnel as fast as the Finnish system allows. Theoretical training is organised by the Kouvola Railway and Adult Training Institute KRAO. The syllabus also includes learning during work and internships implemented here at VR Transpoint as part of our production operations.
The new ERP system RALLI. Rail Logistics successfully implemented its new ERP system Ralli in late November. Ralli will be used to transfer data ranging from customer transport needs and transport planning and management to invoicing.
“RALLI is the foundation upon which we can build and develop our customer information systems. This aspect of the new ERP system will be developed further once RALLI has been fully implemented.”
Customers can access information using a mobile application or via an online portal. Information may also be transferred automatically between the agreed upon user interfaces.
“In the future, systems may change, but the interfaces remain the same. This allows for more agile development on both sides,” Kosonen says.
Changes to the production organisation
VR Transpoint will implement changes in its production organisation to make it more customer-oriented.
“The new model is based on the primary flow of goods and its processing. In the future, the areal units of service production will be arranged so that each unit will be responsible for a certain set of transport services. With this, we aim to make the management of our route sets and transport chains as well as our customer service operations easier and simpler,” Kosonen explains.
At the same time, the planning process will also undergo changes.
“The new planning process also aims for clarity and a customer-orientated approach. The first step is to streamline and clarify the planning of our raw wood transport services.”