Every day, thousands of lorries take to our roads to deliver goods. Congested motorways are the inevitable outcome. These transports take a heavy toll on the environment, too. Against this backdrop, more and more companies are rethinking how they do things and shifting their goods to rail. Every tonne of freight brought to its recipient by train emits roughly 80% less CO2 than the same goods hauled by lorries on the motorway.
Steel producer U.S. Steel Košice is banking on rail
This has now led U.S. Steel Košice to adopt its current motto: “Off the road and onto the rails.” The Slovakian branch of U.S. Steel aims to ship its products to customers with more climate-friendly methods in future and has pulled in DB Cargo for the job. “Many of our customers lack their own private siding. Thus far, we have relied exclusively on road transport to supply those customers. From now on, we will be working with DB Cargo to transport the products in an environmentally friendly way,” says Martina Kováčová, General Manager Procurement, Center of Excellence from U.S. Steel Košice. This year, U.S. Steel Košice has already shifted 33,069 tonnes of steel from road to rail, emitting 2,442 fewer tonnes of CO2 than the equivalent lorry transports. The steel products first make their way by rail. The main leg takes them from Slovakia to various railports in Germany. Once they arrive, they are transhipped and stored, if necessary, before being delivered to the end recipients by lorry. With the rail transports to Mengen and Bielefeld alone, the steel group saved already around 270 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2021. “We handle the entire transport, manage the operational side and maintain an overview of everything – from coordination to delivery. U.S. Steel Košice’s job is done as soon as the goods leave the steelworks,” says Mario Bahn, account manager at DB Cargo. The end customers are pleased, as well: “We are very satisfied with the new transport solution, since it is safer while also reducing the burden on the roads. We receive the products much faster by rail,” says Herbert Schanz, Managing Director of Franz Schanz GmbH und Co. KG in Mengen, a customer of U.S. Steel Košice.
Digital data handling introduced with EDI
Parallel remote data transmission via EDI has been put in place to record the entire process digitally. U.S. Steel Košice uses the IT solution to notify the railport once the goods are sent. The railport knows what is headed its way and confirms receipt, dispatch and delivery of the goods to the customer. “U.S. Steel Košice therefore has all the data directly in its system for further processing. This considerably reduces manual effort,” says Mario Bahn from DB Cargo.
Further cooperation is planned
The partnership between U.S. Steel and DB Cargo to shift current lorry shipments to environmentally friendly rail between Germany and Slovakia is just getting started. There are plans to broaden the cooperation in future. Additional routes with last mile solutions for France and Belgium are already being planned in areas where large volumes are still delivered to U.S. Steel Košice’s customers by lorry.