RCG boosts rail shipments of Ukrainian grain

ÖBB RCG. © ÖBB David Payr.

Efforts to increase exports from Ukraine are led by rail operators like Austrian logistics specialist ÖBB Rail Cargo Group (RCG), which announced it will step up grain transport from the war-torn country.

While fighting still rages in the east of Ukraine, vital cargoes of wheat are waiting for transport from the country’s interior to world markets. Global supply chain issues and massive price spikes for grain have added further pressure to expedite shipments.

Doubled capacity

Responding to this demand, RCG has announced it will rapidly increase its grain transport from Ukraine, with plans to double capacity in a few weeks. The firm expects shipments to Austria will double and reach around 2,600 tonnes by the end of July, to free up storage space in Ukraine ahead of the next seedtime and harvest.

Clemens Först, RCG’s CEO, explained: “I’m glad Rail Cargo Group can make a small contribution to supporting Ukrainian agriculture in this difficult period and secure seeds and storage space for the next harvest while ensuring the supply of affordable grain worldwide.”

More through Hungary and Romania

Alongside increased shipments to Austria, deliveries to Hungary will also rise sharply. RCG now expects to increase the tonnage of deliveries to Hungary by as much as 66 per cent, reaching around 6,500 – 9,100 tonnes by the end of July.

Hungary has been a leading destination for rail shipments of grain from Ukraine. RCG’s subsidiary Rail Cargo Hungaria is responsible for around 75 per cent of grain exports from Ukraine to Hungary. This equates to about 10 to 15 weekly trains, with approximately 70 per cent of this grain staying in Hungary and the rest re-exported, primarily to Italy.

Further capacity increases are expected to support rail shipments via Romania, with RCG hoping to boost transport once current diesel shortages ease. Currently, RCG has four barges transporting grain via waterways to Constanța, carrying around 20,000 tonnes of grain per month, but may look to increase rail shipments should fuel supply issues improve. Until May this year, RCG transported over 33,500 tonnes of grain from Reni in the Odesa Oblast of south Ukraine to the port of Constanța on the western coast of the Black Sea in Romania.

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Author: Malcolm Ramsay

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