“The start of the year has remained at the level of the previous year, both in terms of profit and net sales. We must pick up speed towards the end of the year in order to keep on the growth track after a year of strong growth. We are pleased that travel by train continued to grow in popularity when measured with the number of journeys. The company will continue actions to improve both customer satisfaction and operative efficiency,” says President and CEO Rolf Jansson.
Customer satisfaction and the number of train trips grew
Net sales for passenger services decreased in January−March by 0.2 per cent to EUR 137.6 (137.9) million. Travel by train grew by 2.5 per cent, with a total of 22.2 (21.7) million journeys made. In relative terms, the greatest growth was seen in domestic long-distance traffic, where the number of journeys increased by 6.4 per cent from the previous year. In road transport, the number of journeys decreased by 13.2 per cent, with a total of 10.1 (11.7) million journeys made. The number of journeys in the comparison year was increased by the replacement traffic for the Espoo metro line. The total number of journeys in the first quarter was 32.3 (33.3) million.
Punctuality in domestic long-distance traffic remained clearly below target, only reaching 73.6 per cent in the first quarter when measured with the 5-minute maximum delay. Punctuality has long been burdened by the deteriorated condition of the track infrastructure and equipment as well as the track work being carried out to improve the situation. The punctuality of commuter traffic was excellent, with the punctuality of HSL commuter trains exceeding the contractual targets. Overall, the punctuality of commuter traffic was 95.4 per cent when measured with the 3-minute maximum delay.
Passenger satisfaction has remained at a good level according to the customer survey conducted in the first quarter. The services provided by the train personnel and the working compartments were particularly praised. The greatest improvement was seen in the satisfaction expressed by the passengers regarding the restaurant cars and their offering. The renewal of the restaurant car concept has boosted the sales of train restaurants to a growth of 13.3 per cent. In addition to improved customer satisfaction, the brand image was also strengthened among passengers.
Demand for VR Transpoint’s transport services remains strong
VR Transpoint net sales increased by 2.7 per cent in January−March, amounting to EUR 101 (98.4) million. Transport volumes remained at the level of the previous year, 10.9 (10.9) million tonnes. The positive economic development has continued, and demand for both domestic and international rail transport has been strong. The transport need for domestic raw timber is at a particularly high level, and demand is expected to remain good throughout the year. The volumes of forest industry products are being raised by new investments, such as the product transport for the Äänekoski bioproduct mill. Transit traffic has continued to be busy in the chemical product groups. There has been strong fluctuation in the customer volumes of import traffic from the East. The fluctuation has been caused by periodic difficulties in obtaining raw material.
The total volume of international road logistics exceeded the level of the previous January–March period. The demand for domestic road logistics transport was stable and warehouse business operations grew to a good level at the end of the quarter.
VR Track was successful in tendering in early 2018
VR Track net sales decreased by 9.5 per cent in January−March, amounting to EUR 50.2 (55.4) million. The main reason for the decrease in net sales was the smaller number of construction projects.
The main events of the period in the construction business were the contracts won for the superstructure of the Misi-Kemijärvi section and the Raasepori Travel Centre. In the maintenance business, an agreement was made with the Finnish Transport Agency to exercise the option for extending the maintenance contract in track maintenance area 7, and an agreement was made to enter the next phase in the alliance for maintenance area 2. In the Tampere tramway alliance, an agreement was signed with YIT and the City of Tampere on development phase 2.
1−3/2018 1−3/2017 Change % 1−12/2017
VR Group’s net sales (EUR million) 290.9 293.6 -0.9 1,251.5
VR Group’s operating profit (EUR million) 17.8 15.3 16.1 110.3
Journeys in passenger service (millions) 32.3 33.3 -3.0 126.9
Passenger-kilometres in train traffic (millions) 1,117 1,013 10.3 4,271
VR Transpoint’s tonnes (millions) 10.9 10.9 -0.3 43.7
VR Group is a versatile, environmentally friendly service company for travel, logistics, and infrastructure that operates responsibly. About 7,500 professionals work for the group. VR Group operates primarily in Finland, but it also has operations abroad, especially in Russia and Sweden.
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