Wascosa Wagon. Image: van Hool

Flex freight system developed for chemical rail transports

Swiss-based rail freight wagon lease company Wascosa has got together with chemicals’ specialist BASF and Belgian transport manufacturers van Hool to develop an innovative new flexible system for transporting chemical products. The ‘flex freight system’ combines tank containers, rail and autonomous driving.

The tank container has around the same load capacity as a tank wagon but can be removed from the wagon. A carrier specially developed for this container makes it possible to expose the container to a driverless transport vehicle. As a result, the transport processes on the factory premises can be automated.

Loading points

Since the 45-feet tank containers can be transported both on the rail and on the road, delivery times are shortened from the station to the loading points. This makes the freight wagon available for other transports. With a capacity of 63 m3 and a maximum allowable weight of 75 tons, it has loading capacity double that of the usual tank container and comparable to that of a rail tank car.

The new system was unveiled at the recent Transport & Logistic event in Munich. Henk Kamp, Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, saw the Wascosa/BASF project first hand, as part of a visit marking the German-Dutch Regional Development Partnership between the state of Bavaria and the provinces of Brabant and Limburg.

Very satisfied

Speaking at the event, Peter Balzer, CEO of Wascosa, said: “We are very satisfied so far. Compared to the last time, we had far more visitors and interesting conversations. This makes us very positive for the future. We are very pleased to be able to present this year innovative and trendsetting solutions to the visitors together with our co-exhibitors.”

Karel Smits, Manager of Dutch container handling systems supplier VDL Automated Vehicle, said: “We have been talking about automatic driving for a very long time and we have also been active in this area for a long time. But it is only now that we have the impression that the market and the technical possibilities are coming together now.”

In a joint statement, Miriam Walter and Holger Schmiers, Project Manager & Manager Rail and Sight Services respectively at BASF, said: “Our new logistic solution brings more flexibility and makes rail more competitive and innovative for companies. Working with Wascosa and the other partners is a lot of fun.”

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for RailFreight.com - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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