Extra rail services for much-needed salt, coffee and tomato paste

Rail Cargo Group has set up additional rail freight services to enable the shipment of salt from Austria to Hungary, Italy and Croatia. According to the ÖBB-subsidiary, the supply of this basic commodity is urgently needed in the food, pharmaceutical and cleaning industries at the moment. The new rail freight lines were established in a matter of days to respond to the rising demand.

“In light of the challenges currently facing international freight transport, Rail Cargo Group (RCG) has been able to significantly ramp up its transport services for Salinen Austria”, the operator said. Salinen Austria is a company mining salt from the Alps, and surrounding countries rely on this production. “Additional rail transport services were arranged in a matter of days and the goods reached their destination in Hungary within just one week. This means that it is possible to secure essential supplies for the food, pharmaceutical and cleaning industries on an international scale”, RCG said.

Increased volumes

Every single year, RCG transports more than 300,000 tonnes of salt all over Austria and to Italy, Romania, Slovakia, North Macedonia and Serbia. The current border restrictions for trucks in Hungary have led to a further 50,000 tonnes being shifted to the rails. This equates to between 50 and 60 truckloads per week, and these are essential for provisions in Hungary.

Transport services in Italy have also been significantly ramped up from 15 to 20 wagons per week. What is more, a new route to Zagreb/Croatia running two to three times per week has also been arranged for wagons and groups of wagons.

Shift to rail

Due to the limitations experienced on the road, such as additional border controls, RCG has seen several companies turning to rail. This is especially notable in the food industry. “RCG is increasingly handling food by rail and ensuring the supply of food from Italy in Austria, Germany, Hungary and Romania, the operator said.

For the Austrian company Julius Meinl, it was able to transport seven covered wagons with coffee from the Italian logistics center Santo Stino di Livenza to Vienna within one week, taking on the transport volume of a total of 14 trucks. For the Austrian food producer Landena, too, the goods flow was maintained thanks to rail freight. A total volume of 48 tonnes of tomato conserves is currently being loaded from the collection point in Desio, transported by rail to Bischofshofen and delivered to the company location in Stainach.

Responsibility

“In these challenging times, we are particularly aware of our responsibility to keep the flow of goods moving; we are introducing new products for our customers and can increase our existing capacities, for the very purpose of securing supplies on an international scale”, emphasises Clemens Först, CEO of the Rail Cargo Group.

Similar to the demand in salt, tomato and coffee, the company has also witnessed an increased demand in toilet paper and alcohol used in disinfectants. It started new rail freight services for the Austrian hygiene products manufacturer Essity Austria and food and industrial goods group AGRANA, which shifted from delivering sugar to bio-ethanol.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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