Information published on 28 September 2021 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr eNews.

Austria/Europe: More rail for the environment

  • Europe
  • Freight
  • Climate Change
  • Digital
  • Innovation
  • Modal Shift
  • News from UIC members

Rail freight transport in the fight against climate change. This was the focus of the ÖBB Rail Cargo Group’s (RCG) annual press conference this year. Digitalisation and innovation can help RCG achieve its climate goals.

During ÖBB Rail Cargo Group’s (RCG) annual press conference with the headline “ÖBB RCG in focus 21/22”, ÖBB 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 as an online livestream due to Covid-19.

Modal shift: act now!

Transport 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 that freight transport be shifted from road to rail as quickly as possible. “This can only be achieved with fair competition and true costs in transport”, says Andreas Matthä. “The goal is clear: driving a train across Europe needs to become as easy as driving a truck.”

Comprehensive digital offer

In addition to conditions of competition and true costs, the rail freight industry also has to do its homework. That is why RCG is constantly expanding its network and has been investing heavily in end-to-end digitalisation for years – and with great success. SmartLINK, a digital range of services, offers both new and existing customers a clear overview of everything they need to transport goods by rail. TransFER connections are RCG’s premium product, and there are currently 60 of them, with new connections being added all the time.

MIKE – the digital assistant

Working closely with existing customers and their needs, RCG is also in the process of developing MIKE, the digital assistant. MIKE is constantly being updated with new capabilities that make handling transport simpler, more efficient and more transparent – from the transport request right through to invoicing. This allows 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 is 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.”

(Source: Rail Cargo Group)