Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson, who today visited the Tartu loading yard of the railway and logistics company Operail, confirmed that the current shifting trend of moving goods by rail rather than road has a positive impact on highway safety.
“Every tonne of freight that is transported by rail rather than truck reduces heavy traffic on the roads and reduces the amount of dangerous overtaking,” said Simson. “In addition, transporting freight by rail is significantly more environmentally friendly than by road,” she added.
Since August last year, Operail has successfully been operating the Muuga-Tartu-Muuga container railway line. “Currently, we are carrying 200 containers a month on average in both directions, which means that we are thus reducing road volumes by 400 trucks,” said Raul Toomsalu, Operail’s Chairman of the Board. “At the start of February, an additional line, Sillamäe-Tartu-Sillamäe, will enter operation, and as a result domestic container trains will begin serving two very important ports.”
According to Toomsalu, the phase 2 of the Tartu loading yard development project will be carried out this year. “The loading area will start functioning as a recognised container depot, where both import and export containers will be handled without having to take them to the port in the meantime, which in turn will significantly improve transport efficiency and rail freight competitiveness,” explained Toomsalu.
To date, almost 15,000 tonnes of freight have been transported by containers via railway between Muuga and Tartu, mostly timber products.