STORA establishes new environmentally efficient, transport s

STORA establishes new environmentally efficient, intermodal transport system Following several years of development work, STORA can present a transport system that strengthens the Group's competitiveness in the continental and global markets. The key components in the system are a new intermodal cargo carrier for rail and sea transport and the use of newly built RoRo vessels operating between Gothenburg and Zeebrugge. The transport system will increase the flexibility, quality and precision of STORA's transports, while simultaneously reducing their impact on the environment and supporting the Group's efforts to further improve its service to customers in Europe and the rest of the world. Agreements were signed yesterday, February 25, 1998, with a number of selected suppliers. The transport system will be introduced gradually during the next five years and when fully implemented is expected to provide the Group with annual cost savings of around SEK 200 million by improving transportation efficiency by more than 20 percent. STORA has decided to hire three newly built RoRo vessels from the Dutch shipping company Wagenborg Shipping B.V. A shipping line will be established between Gothenburg and Zeebrugge where Cobelfret Ferries N.V., which is a large RoRo ferry operator in the North Sea, will charter parts of the line's capacity and assume responsibility for its marketing and commercial development. When fully developed, the line will offer a service based on five sailings per week bothways. The line between Gothenburg and Zeebrugge is based on STORA's substantial paper and board transport requirements. The line is a key component in a new cost- and environment-efficient transport system that STORA is establishing for shipments from its Swedish mills to customers on the European continent and in overseas markets. Another key component is a newly developed cargo-handling technique. In cooperation with Cronos and SJ Gods, STORA has developed the "Storabox," a new container-style cargo carrier. The Storabox is a unit specifically designed for combined rail and seaborne transport and to facilitate improved coordination between Sweden's domestic rail network, North Sea traffic and Europe's Inland Waterways. Through adaptation to a new, larger cargo profile and a higher permissible axle weight in the Swedish railway network, the Storabox improves capacity utilization of the Swedish rail infrastructure. STORA will cooperate with SJ Gods on the transport of Storaboxes between the Group's Swedish mills and the port of Gothenburg. Zeebrugge will become the Group's Western European base port and an important hub for its global transports. Zeebrugge will occupy an important strategic position, both in terms of its geographical proximity to the Group's main European markets and through its access to transport services and infrastructure. Today, Zeebrugge is already an established RoRo and container port, which is regularly visited by overseas shipping lines. The port also provides access to onward transports via Europe's Inland Waterways. A base in Zeebrugge thus provides STORA with further opportunities to coordinate the Group's transport flows of both raw materials and finished products. A new paper terminal with a cross-dock operation will be established in the outer harbor area in cooperation with the local port authority and the terminal operator, SeaRo Terminal N.V. A number of functions will be combined when the system is in operation. The terminal will function as a Transit Center, to which products from Sweden will be reloaded from Storaboxes directly into conventional rail cars for onward transportation to customers and terminals in Europe. In an Overseas Coordination Center, products from Sweden and continental Europe will be stuffed into containers for onward transportation via ocean-going vessels. In a Local Distribution Center, goods from Sweden and continental Europe will be unloaded and stored pending final distribution by truck. In a Pulp Coordination Center, the Group's inflow and outflow of pulp will be coordinated and optimized. STORA will further strengthen its position in the port of Gothenburg, which in future will function as the Group's main base for the shipment of paper and board. A new terminal area and a rational cargo-handling system for Storaboxes and trailers will be established in the Älvsborg harbor, in cooperation with Göteborgs Hamn AB, on behalf of STORA and Cobelfret Ferries. Wagenborg Shipping B.V., which will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the vessels, is one of the first shipping companies to have had its operations environmentally certified in accordance with ISO 14001. Wagenborg has decided to build the three 13,600-dwt RoRo vessels at the FlenderWerft A.G. shipyard in Lübeck. The vessels are designed for low fuel consumption and high cargo capacity and will be equipped with exhaust-emission treatment units and fueled by low-sulphur bunker oil. The first of the vessels will be placed in operation in November 1999. A cargo agreement has been signed with Belgian Rail's B-Cargo for rail transport to and from the base port in Zeebrugge. The project is wholly in line with STORA's efforts to minimize the effects of its transport operations on the environment by identifying and introducing transport solutions that offer greater efficiency and optimally low resource consumption. For further information, please contact: Stora Purchasing and Transport AB - Bengt Johansson, President, telephone: +46 (0)23-78 21 50 - Olle Widigsson, Project Manager, telephone: +46 (0)23-78 21 53

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