‘Digitalisation and innovation can help in achieving climate goals’

ÖBB’s CEO Andreas Matthä and Clemens Först, spokesman of the board for RCG. Image: Rail Cargo Group

Rail freight transport in the fight against climate change. This was the focus of Rail Cargo Group’s annual press conference. According to the Austrian company, digitalisation and innovation can help in achieving the climate goals.

During the press conference, ÖBB’s CEO Andreas Matthä and Clemens Först, spokesman of the board for ÖBB Rail Cargo Group, presented future opportunities and challenges for rail freight transport in Austria and Europe in the light of the climate crisis. The press conference was held on 24 September as an online livestream due to Covid-19.

Modal shift: act now!

The transport sector represents one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions and the greenhouse effect. If we are to achieve all our climate targets, we need to reverse the trend, especially in the transport sector. This is one thing that all experts agree on. It is therefore crucial to shift freight transport from road to rail as quickly as possible. “This can only be achieved with fair competition and true costs in transport”, said Matthä. “The goal is clear: driving a train across Europe needs to become as easy as driving a truck.”

In addition to the conditions of competition and true costs, the rail freight industry also has to do its homework, RCG believes. That is the ÖBB subsidiary is expanding its network and investing in end-to-end digitalisation. An example is SmartLINK, a digital range of services which offers customers a clear overview of everything they need to transport goods by rail.

MIKE – the digital assistant

RCG is also in the process of developing MIKE, a digital assistant. The tracking application within MIKE shows shipment locations. By means of the ordering function, MIKE supports the ordering of empty wagons and the capacity planning function enables key customers to directly ascertain wagon requirements via specific production capacity planning.

MIKE is constantly being updated with new capabilities that make handling transports simpler, more efficient and more transparent, RCG explains. “From the transport request right through to invoicing. This enables customers to enter transport requirements easily and intuitively, communicate efficiently and gain a transparent overview of their consignments – all clearly laid out on a single platform.”

RCG pursues growth strategy

The RCG is pursuing one goal with its digitalisation initiatives: to drive innovation to further enhance the range of products and services available to customers. Spokesman of the Board Clemens Först: “At RCG, we pursue a growth strategy in all of our markets and across our entire product range. This applies equally to intermodal transport as well as to conventional rail freight transport.

“The customer segment we aim to address even more intensively in the coming years are medium-sized customers with consignment sizes ranging from one container to a group of wagons. We want to offer them attractive door-to-door solutions.”

Rail Cargo Group

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