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"Intermodal wagons are the key development for us," says Peter Reinshagen, managing director at ERMEWA SA

&quote;Intermodal wagons are the key development for us,&quote; says Peter Reinshagen, managing director at ERMEWA SA
photo: RAILTARGET/"Intermodal wagons are the key development for us," says Peter Reinshagen, managing director at ERMEWA SA
03 / 10 / 2022

RAILTARGET presents you with an exclusive interview with Peter Reinshagen, managing director of ERMEWA SA. It was recorded in the framework of the international trade fair Innotrans, which brought top managers of the railway sector to Berlin. In the interview, you will learn more about ERMEWA SA's investments in intermodal wagons, and the GreenDeal digital automatic coupler project.

What are the main ERMEWA goals for this year?

We are actually trying to start into a growth period, so this is a quite disturbing moment, and we are trying to keep the pace of growth that we have decided, which is quite a task. But we are on a good track to achieving that.

You're making large investments in intermodal wagons. Will you come into this trend?

Absolutely. Intermodal wagons are the key development for us. Our market is not sufficient in the intermodal part, and we are continually investing more than a thousand wagons a year.
Sustainability is a big topic at ERMEWA. You can even make furniture for your offices out of old wagons.

How important are the GreenDeal and its goals to you?

Actually, this is a circular economy approach because car rental is a perfect example of a circular economy. A wagon is rented, and then it comes back, and you try to find a new customer, then you do maintenance, and you do re-refurbishment to prolong the life of the asset. And then, after 40-50 years, when the wagon is not useful and cannot be used anymore, we recycle it. We recycle 99% of a wagon, and in the case of the wood, we take it and make tables and chairs, and out of the topalin, we make bags and other things. And this is a very good initiative, and sometimes even a very good business.

Ermewa is one of the testers of the DAC train. What do you think are the main benefits of this project?

There are a lot of them. The main benefit, in fact, is that the railway, the rail freight was and is today the 19th century in terms of technology, because for the last 120 years, it has been done in the same way as we do today. Tomorrow, we will have DAC, we will go into the 21st century by automatization, the coupling, and then, of course, the D - digital part, which will bring electricity to a wagon. It will allow us to have a lot of sensors, a lot of information and data, and then, to make a really intelligent freight train, which is the future of this business.

Yesterday, you were a speaker at the conference about Digital Automatic Coupling. Do you think these meetings are important for wagon keepers and members of the EU?

Absolutely. As I said yesterday in the meeting, our investments will have arisen in more than 30 years, and if I imagine today when I buy a railcar, it needs to run in 2054 to make the investment truly viable. So, imagine that in 2054, we'd still apply 19th-century technology. It's simply not possible when the entire world has digitalized, and everyone has a phone that can do everything. So, the DAC is a natural way forward, and as it was said in the discussion yesterday, during the meeting, it's as well a huge benefit to the infrastructure usage because it will allow increasing capacity on the existing network.