Given the volatile energy prices in Europe, the next year will see a significant increase in prices for RCG customers, Clemens Först, CEO of ÖBB Rail Cargo Group announced:
"As an energy-intensive company, we too are affected by massive price jumps on the energy market and therefore have to pass on our additional costs to our customers. This step is unavoidable given the current developments coupled with a traditionally low-margin industry, but it is being taken transparently and fairly in consultation with every one of our customers."
Together with ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä, they emphasize that rail freight transport has had an extraordinarily crisis-ridden year - from massively increased energy prices, the Ukraine war, the continuing Corona pandemic, and securing fuel supplies in Austria to dealing with international supply chain issues. Despite that the freight stay reliable, system and supply-relevant rail transport:
"I am particularly pleased that we can support the people and the economy in Ukraine with our services. These days we are transporting the millionth tonne of grain from Ukraine out into the world," says Andreas Matthä, ÖBB CEO and reveals expansion plans for rail freight transport in Europe:
"We are preparing intensively for the changes in the Waste Management Act from January 2023 with investments of EUR 75 million in new wagon material. On this basis, we will then be able to shift more and more waste transports from road to rail," emphasizes CEO Matthä.
Moreover, the world's first duty-free corridor from the port of Trieste to Dry Port Villach will direct additional road transports to the railways:
"This project is of great importance to us - in the future, Villach will be on the sea and will become the gateway for goods from all over the world to enter the EU. And they will come by rail. All our measures as a whole are aimed at making a significant contribution to achieving the climate goals. The comparison makes certain: transporting one tonne of freight by rail is 30 times more climate-friendly than by truck," Andreas Matthä adds.
RCG CEO Clemens Först takes the same line and explains how RCG is expanding internationally:
"System relevance is the buzzword of the year. We are the sustainable logistics backbone of the Austrian and European economy and are investing intensively in the expansion of our network - in the direction of China and increasingly in the Balkans: as of 1 January 2023, we will be operational with a branch office in Shanghai. The main aim is to further expand the transport route on the Central Corridor. We have also founded another carrier company in Belgrade, which will start operations in the first quarter of 2023. Serbia will thus be the 13th country in Europe where we carry out high-quality and attractively priced rail transports with our locomotives and personnel. This step will allow us to offer our TransFER connections towards Turkey and Greece - where we are the market leader - via two alternative routes and thus become more crisis-resistant."
ÖBB CEO Matthä concludes this topic that the railways need fair framework conditions: "Rail freight transport is the basic prerequisite for achieving climate protection goals. But for the necessary transport turnaround, we need fair cost truth in the transport sector. In Austria alone, the external costs (including noise, congestion, and accident costs) are three times higher for trucks than for rail. However, these costs are not borne by the polluters, but by the taxpayers. Something urgently needs to change here - for those who pay, but also for the railways and thus for the climate."