Good cooperation requires flexibility, responsiveness, smooth communication, and common interests.
Fertilizer manufacturing has a long tradition in Finland. Yara’s Kokkola production facilities produce potassium sulphate and feed phosphate. A phosphate mine also operates next to the Siilinjärvi production unit. Logistics cooperation with Rauanheimo started in 2009.
‘Our cooperation started with deliveries iron oxide, says Yara’s development manager Lasse Oksanen. ‘Later, it was expanded first to supply fertilizers and then apatite.’
Previously, fertilizer was mainly delivered from Siilinjärvi via the Saimaa canal.
‘The geopolitical situation has now directed these deliveries to Kokkola,’ Oksanen states. ‘It has increased the importance of Rauanheimo.’
It is absolutely important for Siilinjärvi, which is located Finland, that the port connection works. Otherwise, production is quickly blocked. It is not possible to store the products in the factory warehouse, but the supply chain must be smooth, and the goods must move. VR’s operation on the connection between Siilinjärvi and Kokkola works well, iron oxide with a train journey along the tracks taking one day. The electrification of the track, which will be completed next year, will further increase both efficiency and operational reliability, as well as zero emissions.
The cooperation between Yara and KWH Logistics has started with small volumes and has grown over the years. Today, Rauanheimo also manages Yara’s ad hoc operations in the port of Mussalo in Kotka. Yara also cooperates with Stevena in Uusikaupunki. In addition to Rauanheimo, a partner in Kokkola is Otto Rodén, who handles the export and import functions of the Kokkola factory. Rauanheimo, on the other hand, takes care of the unloading of goods arriving by train from Siilinjärvi at the port of Kokkola, first to the warehouse and from there to the ships. Iron oxide is delivered to the Far East along with smaller quantities to Europe. Fertilizers are delivered to the Baltic Sea basin area and apatite to Yara’s other production facilities. The material flow also goes in the other direction, when the necessary raw materials – mainly potassium salt – are brought to the harbour and delivered further to Siilinjärvi.
The partner must be able to process the handling of Yara’s products. It is Rauanheimo’s responsibility that the products are in a condition to be delivered and that, for example, contamination or wetting does not occur. The handling of fertilizers in particular requires expertise. Products are screened before loading to make sure things are even and flowing.
‘The level of service we have received has been good,’ says Oksanen thankfully. ‘It is important because our internal customers demand high quality from the products.’
Responsiveness is needed
Rauanheimo and the Kokkola port authority have made investments in the Kokkola port, thanks to which the storage and deliveries of fertilizers and apatite have been managed with high quality.
– ‘It is important that a partner has the capacity to invest and share costs,’ states Oksanen. ‘This is how both businesses grow. This has always been understood at Rauanheimo, and the projects have received management support.’
Flexibility is also needed. World market prices have a significant impact, especially on the demand for cast iron, which may vary drastically. It is important that the logistics partner has the ability to react. It is also needed in everyday situations. Oksanen appreciates the simplicity of communication.
‘You can go straight to the point with the operators of KWH Logistics. We look for solutions together – not problems.’
Oksanen is thankful for the open dialogue with such people as Joakim Laxåback, Rauanheimo’s former managing director. Now the contact persons at both Yara and Rauanheimo have changed, as Laxåback has moved to the management of the KWH Logistics business group and Oksanen from operational management to development tasks. The Norwegian Trond Tvedt currently works in his place.
‘Good cooperation has continued at all levels of the operation, despite the change of personnel,’ Oksanen states. ‘Because we share the same goals, it has always been easy to find common ground.’
Lasse Oksanen, who moved from operational management to development tasks, wants to thank the partners of KWH Logistics for the good cooperation.