“Climate protection and increasing freight transport require a strong ÖBB”

For ÖBB General Director Andreas Matthä, it is clear “that shifting truck transit to the rail can’t wait any longer”

“Climate protection and increasing freight transport require a strong ÖBB” Bild: David Payr

On Tuesday evening, ÖBB’s General Director Andreas Matthä delighted audiences with a flagrant appeal to shift freight traffic from road to rail in a speech delivered at an information event in Linz organised by Oberbank together with the Upper Austrian Federation of Industrialists and the newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten.

As he put it, freight traffic in Europe will rise by about 30 percent by 2035. If no counteraction is taken now, there will be 1 million trucks more on the streets every day, the head of the ÖBB warned. This must be addressed with a dedicated strategy to promote rail freight transport.

Andreas Matthä’s main concern is to reduce truck transit through Austria. He considers the additional expenditure to be paid by the general public for certain goods groups as manageable.

“With a smartphone worth EUR 900, shipping costs for sea freight and trucks from China to Central Europe will cost 15 cents. The alternative on the rail costs 17 cents per device, but takes at least 14 days less,” he calculated.

In addition to the demands often made by politics, Andreas Matthä reaffirmed the ÖBB Group’s endeavors to constantly modernise its freight transport mechanisms. He named the equipment of 13,700 freight waggons with sensors, the introduction of innovative Track & Trace services and measures to even better utilise the wagon fleet.

“Climate protection is part of our DNA. Our trains have been using hydropower for a long time,” emphasised the ÖBB boss. This makes it all the more important to bring more goods transports onto the railways, which can be done with additional container trains in seaport hinterland traffic and with efficient multi-modal hubs.