DB Cargo offers new transport system for voestalpine

DB Cargo transports iron ore and steel coils in the same wagons for technology and industrial goods group voestalpine

DB Cargo offers new transport system for voestalpine

A new regular transport operation is starting in June 2017, the like of which has probably never been seen before. Coils for the automotive industry and ore for the steel industry will be transported between Linz and Rotterdam in the same wagons. The system was developed by DB Cargo experts in collaboration with one of voestalpine’s service providers. “This is a unique, innovative concept for a backloading transport operation,” said Stephan Denzer, Account Manager at DB Cargo’s Industrial Sales Division.

The service provider that is working with DB Cargo coordinates the production-critical supply transport operations mainly for voestalpine’s Steel Division, which operates an integrated foundry for manufacturing premium steel products in Linz. While the service provider is responsible for the transportation of iron ore by inland waterway vessel within the combined inland waterway–rail concept, DB Cargo takes care of the final rail leg to the customer.

In addition, DB Cargo also transports the final steel product to its international destinations, working directly for voestalpine. DB Cargo transports almost a million tonnes a year over the border to various recipients in Western Europe.

Under the new concept, steel and iron ore, the raw material needed to produce it, are now transported in the same wagon in a shuttle concept. An important ore-supply transport operation begins in Rotterdam. The large volume of iron ore arriving there is needed in smelting furnaces and steel production plants in Austria. The ore is transhipped in “Ea” freight wagons, which are common, four-axle bulk goods wagons that can also be used to transport coal, rock or scrap.

Once the ore train has arrived at the voestalpine site, the ore is unloaded by crane. The empty Ea wagons are then taken to Linz’s city port, where the ore residue is removed and the wagons cleaned. Containers are then loaded into the Ea wagons – one 40-foot container or two 20-foot ISO containers per Ea wagon.

Stephan Denzer is delighted by this coup, which not only conserves resources, improves wagon availability and is very sustainable, but also increases the speed of the time-critical round trip. “We are now taking full advantage of the backloading potential and are operating a freight-freight transport operation,” explains Denzer. “The wagons would otherwise be empty on their way back from Linz to Rotterdam.”

With the test phase now over, two sets of Ea wagon trains have been completing the round trip twice a week since the beginning of June. The new system not only reduces voestalpine’s costs, it also brings with it the advantage of added reliability. Freed from the uncertainties of trucks and inland waterway vessels, and with time risks such as road congestion and high and low tides eliminated, the steel producer can now make solid plans for its inbound and outbound transports, and synchronise its production processes with the round trip.