Disused sidings? DB Cargo sees them as an opportunity for modal shift

AV Mock's wagons loaded with recyclable material Copyright: Thomas Klink

DB Cargo reactivated a 300-metre long siding in the town of Tübingen, Germany. The rail tracks belong to Autoverwertung Möck (AV Möck), a waste disposal specialist company. They were in disuse since 2014, but in cooperation with DB Cargo, AV Möck managed to put its cargo back on rail wagons again.

AV Möck specialises in recycling waste disposal in the region of Tübingen, which is close to Stuttgart. The company cooperates mainly with the automotive and steel industry. It used its private sidings until 2014 to take the recycled waste and distribute it to production sites across Europe. However, the sidings fell in disuse, and although the company sought a way to reactivate them for a long time, the circumstances were not right.

That was until autumn 2020 when AV Möck and DB Cargo got in contact. The two companies found a solution quite swiftly, and now the waste disposal specialist is back on tracks with new equipment and an appetite for greener transport.

300-metres of track make a difference

AV Möck can use up to six wagons in the tracks simultaneously. After exiting the company’s site and entering the rail network, two of these wagons head for Italy carrying crushed scrap vehicles. The other two carry scrap from german steelworks that goes to Switzerland. Understandably, the company uses mainly single wagon transport – a key factor towards the modal shift.

In the future, it aims to transport even more types of cargo, including, for instance, refuse-derived fuels and wood waste. DB Cargo aims to become a long-term partner in these endeavours. The company sees a greater good in the situation. “Ensuring that regional companies have access to rail freight, reactivating existing infrastructure and putting into operation routes that are not yet among the most profitable, is a key both for customer satisfaction and for achieving the modal shift,” mentioned Kai Maass, Head of Regional Sales Germany at DB Cargo. Nevertheless, both AV Möck and DB Cargo representatives are well aware that the modal shift also needs extra political and state support to succeed.

A train on the company’s sidings. Copyright: Thomas Klink

Why insisting on rail?

The sidings might not be that long, yet their transport significance is big. For the family-owned company, rail freight has a special position in their business. It allows them to transport bulk cargo and scrap materials safer and more efficiently. Additionally, in Germany, it is considerably cheaper to transport goods by rail compared to road transport.

But the company doesn’t reduce to that. “Without rail freight, there’s no way we could ever become climate neutral, and that goes for our home city of Tübingen, too. We want to make recycling more environmentally friendly throughout the city. We, therefore, see the resumption of rail freight transport as a great opportunity and a decisive move for the future,” commented Marie Möck, responsible for controls in the company and daughter of Jürgen Möck, AV Möck’s managing director.

Simultaneously, the company remains realistic. “We intend to achieve a mix of 50/50 share between road and rail transport. Many of our customers do not have access to rail and use lorries. Moreover, not all goods are suitable for transport by rail,” says Marie Möck. However, it has other ideas in the pipeline. For example, it wants to make its private tracks available to other companies in the region and encourage them to use rail more.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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