VR Group´s Moscow representative office is conveniently located in the middle of Russian
Railways´ (RZD) expansive office complex. According to Vladislav Shepetovski, the Country Director for Russia and Head of Moscow Office, there is a good reason why the office´s location can be deemed to be excellent.
“We maintain connections with all levels of the RZD organisation. Our central location is a great aid in this work.”
Delegation helps all VR Group units
VR Group has had its own representative office in Moscow since the 1990s. In addition to Shepetovski, the employees of the delegation include Head of Sales Maxim Tanchev, Finnlog’s Wagon Fleet Manager Viktor Samoylov and Chief Specialist Anna Kuznetsova who assists in the operations of rail logistics.
“Our main duty is to help all VR Group units operate in Russia. In practice, any one of our colleagues can contact us. When we work with business units, we are part of their organisation and team and we support their customerships,” Shepetovski explains.
The representative office also supports rail logistics operations
Regular communications between different bodies ensure that a dialogue can be started when necessary.
“We maintain and develop a network that covers, in addition to RZD, the authorities, different operators of the transport market, and international organisations.”
The representative office also supports rail logistics operations.
“We ensure that projects are implemented sensibly and safely on the Russian side of the border. Additionally, we provide our colleagues with market analyses so that they can make correct decisions,” says Shepetovski.
Anna Kuznetsova is also a key part of the operating activities.
“I work together with the customer service centres of RZD and VR Transpoint and check that the permit process works. I do my part to ensure that the railway transports of our Finnish and Russian customers move in Russia as agreed,” Kuznetsova explains.
Roundwood transports as a turnkey solution
Finnlog is a wagon company owned by VR Group and it leases roundwood and wood chips wagons to Finnish customer and is responsible for operating the wagons in the Russian railway traffic. Finnlog’s aim is to continue expanding its operations to new customers and product groups.
Vladislav Shepetovski is the company’s CEO. Finnlog’s operating activities are managed by Viktor Samoylov who has strong experience in rail logistics.
“The customer can safely plan its operations on the longer term”
“Our service model is clear and efficient. We provide our customers with roundwood and wood chip transports as a turnkey solution. We cooperate closely with our customers, are responsible for operating our wagons in the Russian traffic and take care of paying the tariffs,” Samoylov says.
“We have an excellent relationship with Russian Railways. We can ensure the quality of the service, and but we can also help our clients to problems, should any arise. We have the capability to develop our operations and be flexible according to the needs of our clients,” Shepetovski adds.
According to Shepetovski, Finnlog’s rolling stock gives the company a clear competitive edge.
“Our wagons are new and reliable. The customer can safely plan its operations on the longer term.”
Working as part of the sales team
Head of Sales Maxim Tanchev is the newest addition to the Moscow team. He is in charge of new transport flows and developing and expanding the current customerships of VR Transpoint in Russia.
Tanchev has expansive experience in rail logistics. He has worked both at RZD and in the private sector.
“Our operations here, in Moscow, are a continuation of and addition to what our colleagues in Finland do. Our primary duty is to work together as an increasingly efficient sales team. We can be faster, more flexible and closer to our customers,” Tanchev says.
The Moscow sales support developing the current transport flows and help, when necessary, Finnish rail logistics customers with the development of transport chains between Russia and Finland.
“The headquarters of Russian’s largest industrial companies are most often located here, in Moscow. We are close to our customers and receive quickly feedback on the quality of our services. And of course, we can get information about new customer needs and opportunities of getting new contracts,” Tanchev says. He emphasises that all additional volume from Russia creates benefits for the transport chains of all transit operators in Finland.
It is often said that trust and personal relationships are very important in Russia. Is this still true?
“Every tonne matters”
“Absolutely, but not only in Russia; it is true in logistics overall. You can never know in advance everything that can happen in a project. There are always new details that just appear and the best way to manage them is with personal relationships. Sometimes, a project’s success can depend on how well we manage these small details.
Promising transit traffic
Tanchev explains that in sales, he focuses on large industrial companies that use railways for their export flows.
“But I never categorise our customers as important or less important. You never know what company needs our logistic solutions.”
“Every tonne matters,” Shepetovski adds.
Shepetovski and Tanchev see a remarkable potential in the transit traffic that flows through Finland.
“The route´s most important advantage is the efficiency of its operations. Furthermore, the Finnish state has invested strongly in the infrastructure. For example, the Vainikkala border station has been improved and it can now receive long and heavy Russian fteight trains. The new Vectron locomotives are also improving our competitiveness,” says Shepetovski.