Operail’s chairman of the board: “We were prepared for worse”
In the first half of the year, the international transport and logistics company Operail managed to increase their wagon rental income and achieved a net profit of almost two million euros.
Operail’s operating income in the first six months of 2020 was 31.8 million euros, which is 16% less than in the same period of the previous year; EBITDA was 6.4 million euros. The company’s net profit in the first six months was 1.8 million euros; in 2019, it was 5.5 million euros. However, Operail’s wagon rental business displayed a significant increase – in the first half of the year, the income from wagon rental activities was 7.4 million euros, which is 22% more than in the previous year.
According to Raul Toomsalu, Chairman of the Management Board of Operail, the results were predictable, as the company’s largest line of business – freight transport – was already in decline at the end of the previous year. “In the first half of this year, we also had the coronavirus emergency situation to deal with, which, despite a lot of questions and hesitation, did not directly affect our freight volumes – we were prepared for worse,” added Toomsalu. “We had signed our agreements and confirmed our prices with the customers before the pandemic began, which meant that we continued to serve our customers and the results stayed within the expected limits.”
As expected, the income from wagon rental increased. “Our wagon rental business grew by more than 20%, which continues to illustrate that we made the right investment a while ago,” said Toomsalu. Operail with its two subsidiaries in Estonia and Finland has rented out more than 2,400 wagons. In total, the group’s wagon fleet includes more than 3,700 wagons.
In the first half of 2020, Operail’s freight volume was 5.5 million tonnes, which is 21% less than in the same period of the previous year. In terms of product groups, compared to the previous year, the carriage of fertilisers has increased and the carriage of mineral fuels has decreased. The carriage of oil shale on public railways already ceased at the end of 2019.
Operail is an Estonian state-owned railway company whose main lines of business are freight transport, repair and construction of locomotives and wagons, and rolling stock rental. The company employs almost 600 people. In addition to the parent company (AS Operail), the Operail Group also includes the wagon rental companies AS Operail Leasing and Operail Leasing Finland Oy and the Finnish railway transport company Operail Finland Oy.