Rail logistics: “Forwarders are the travel agencies for goods”

For RCG CEO Clemens Först, digital marketplaces put certain activities of rail forwarding companies into question

Rail logistics: “Forwarders are the travel agencies for goods”

Europe’s rail forwarding companies could face difficult times. RCG CEO Clemens Först literally described the industry as “travel agencies for goods” in a lecture at the pre-week UIP symposium in Vienna. He then linked the rhetorical question of who would book vacations in travel agencies in future instead of via digital platforms.

In the medium term, the ÖBB manager expects the so-called “digital freight forwarder” to become increasingly important in the control and handling of rail freight. Especially at Commodity Cargo and in the Intermodal segment, these providers will make life difficult for traditional rail forwarding companies in the future, according to his assessment of the situation.

The Rail Cargo Group reacts to this development with a two-part strategy. On the one hand, the carrier services will in future be offered via the digital platforms. This only changes the distribution channel. On the other hand, freight transport at ÖBB wants to establish its own digitized solutions for the comprehensive support of major customers from the shipping industry.

Basically, the Rail Cargo Group sees digital innovations as a precursor to more efficient freight transport by rail, which should boost the competitiveness of rail transport over other modes of transport.

 www.railcargo.com; www.uiprail.org