Rail transport has traditionally been used to deliver a significant share of new cars. Reducing emissions is a good thing – eliminating them entirely is even better. It’s been 11 years since Audi first switched some of its rail transports to green energy and became a green pioneer on the railways. Today, almost the entire Volkswagen Group uses DBeco plus to transport freight CO₂-free – powered by 100% green energy – on all of Germany’s electrified routes.
Pioneering work for CO₂-neutral transport logistics
“Reducing CO₂ is a major area of concern for car manufacturers. To cut emissions, you can’t just consider the vehicles themselves and how they’re produced; you also have to think about how they’re transported. The Volkswagen Group was among the first to recognise this and led the charge in this arena. But businesses in other industries are also increasingly confronting climate change – we’re seeing that in the rising number of customers,” says Kai Birnstein, head of the auto industry organisation at DB Cargo Logistics. Whenever DB’s customers use its services, they are making a long-term contribution to protecting the climate. That’s because DBeco plus also represents an investment in future projects. Ten percent of earnings from the service are ploughed into new infrastructure to generate CO₂-free electricity.
“More than ten years ago, Audi was one of the first companies to use DBeco plus and to work with DB Cargo to bring the Green Train project to life. Ever since, we’ve been continuously building on those pioneering efforts to use carbon-neutral transport logistics services,” says Dieter Braun, head of supply chain at AUDI AG. Over the years, the premium auto manufacturer from Ingolstadt has switched more and more of its rail transports to green energy. Since 2017, all of Audi’s logistics in Germany, including component transports, have been handled CO₂-free by rail. And that’s not all – since the spring of 2020, the Volkswagen brand has made its rail transports on German routes even more eco-friendly by choosing DBeco plus. SEAT and Škoda followed suit in the second half of last year. The switch to DBeco plus reduced CO₂ emissions by more than 16,900 tonnes over the course of 2020 alone. Today, all rail transports on German routes – materials and vehicles – run on green energy.
Transport by rail is essential for sustainable logistics
“We’ve achieved an important milestone on the path to net CO₂-neutral logistics services. Rail transport, ideally powered by green energy, is a key component of our sustainable logistics strategy,” says Simon Motter, CEO of Volkswagen Konzernlogistik GmbH & Co. OHG, explaining the company’s ambitious steps. “We’ll work with our partners to increase the number of combined transports, which integrate lorries and trains, in order to move even more freight to the railway.”
“We’re pleased that the Volkswagen Group is on this journey with us,” says Kai Birnstein at DB Cargo Logistics. Birnstein also points to the services DB offers outside of Germany, where DBeco neutral provides a carbon-neutral option by offsetting emissions. DB Cargo is also reviewing whether the DBeco plus service can be offered in other countries.