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ÖBB Rail Cargo Group Expands International Network and Demonstrates System Relevance of Rail Transport

ÖBB Rail Cargo Group Expands International Network and Demonstrates System Relevance of Rail Transport
photo: ÖBB Rail Cargo Group/ÖBB Rail Cargo Group Expands International Network and Demonstrates System Relevance of Rail Transport
23 / 11 / 2022

Rail freight has had an extraordinarily crisis-ridden year - from massively increased energy prices, the Ukraine war, the continuing Corona pandemic, and securing fuel supplies in Austria to dealing with international supply chain issues. Rail freight transport is relevant to supply and the system. Europe's second-largest rail logistics provider and number one in Austria, ÖBB Rail Cargo Group (RCG), has successfully demonstrated this.

On November 21, at RCG annual press conference, ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä and Clemens Först, Spokesman of the Management Board of ÖBB Rail Cargo Group, presented RCG's expansion plans in light of the many challenges facing rail freight transport in Europe.

Andreas Matthä: "Also this year, rail freight transport, especially ÖBB Rail Cargo Group with its employees, has proven how reliable, system- and supply-relevant rail transport is. I am particularly pleased that we can support people and the economy in Ukraine with our services. These days, for example, we are transporting the millionth ton of grain from Ukraine out into the world. It makes us one of the leading rail companies providing aid here."

Investments in climate-friendly waste transports

As the market leader in Austria, RCG is pushing ahead with other relevant projects: "We are preparing intensively for the changes in the Waste Management Act from January 2023 by investing EUR 75 million in new wagon material. On this basis, we will then be able to shift more and more waste transports from road to rail," emphasizes CEO Matthä. Moreover, the world's first duty-free corridor from the Port of Trieste to Dry Port Villach will direct additional road transports to rail. Matthä: "This project is of great importance to us - in the future, Villach will be located on the sea and will become the gateway for goods from all over the world into the EU. And they will come by rail. All of our measures are aimed overall at making a significant contribution to achieving the climate targets. The comparison makes it certain: transporting one ton of freight by rail is 30 times more climate-friendly than by truck."

RCG CEO Clemens Först takes the same line, explaining how Europe's No. 2 rail logistics company is expanding internationally: "System relevance is the buzzword of the year. We are the sustainable logistics backbone of the Austrian and European economy and are investing intensively in the expansion of our network - in the direction of China and increasingly in the Balkans: as of January 1, 2023, we will be operational with a branch office in Shanghai. In this context, the transport route on the Central Corridor, in particular, is to be further expanded. In Belgrade, we have also established another carrier company with a start date in the first quarter of 2023. Serbia will thus be the 13th country in Europe where we operate high-quality and attractively priced rail transport services with our locomotives and personnel. This step will enable us to offer our TransFER services to Turkey and Greece - where we are the market leader - via two alternative routes and thus become more crisis-resistant." Given the volatile energy prices in Europe, however, the following year will also see a significant increase in prices for RCG customers, Först further emphasizes: "As an energy-intensive company, we too are affected by massive price jumps on the energy market and must therefore pass on our additional costs to our customers - this step is unavoidable because of current developments coupled with a traditionally low-margin industry but is being taken transparently and fairly in consultation with each and every one of our customers."

Improving competitive conditions

Finally, ÖBB CEO Matthä emphasizes that the railroads need fair framework conditions: "Rail freight transport is the basic prerequisite for achieving climate protection targets. But for the necessary transport turnaround, we need fair cost truth in the transport sector. In Austria alone, external costs (including noise, congestion, and accident costs) are three times higher for trucks than for rail. However, these costs are not borne by the polluters but by the taxpayers. Something urgently needs to change here - for those who pay, but also for rail and thus for the climate."


Source: ÖBB Press Releases