"The Bayern-Shuttle clearly demonstrates the environmental benefits of rail transport. The great thing is that it can also be transferred to other sectors. Today, we can already offer every customer a completely CO2-free supply chain for all goods.", said Dr Sigrid Nikutta, CEO of DB Cargo, in her keynote address to the BVL Congress.
What is the Bayern-Shuttle?
It isn't news to anyone that we live in a world with finite resources. "Take it, use it and throw it away" is still the motto we live by. This leads us to consume giant quantities of raw materials, energy and other resources. But DB Cargo and the steel industry are showing that this isn’t the only way. After all, the steel industry is a leader in creating material cycles. Europe's largest rail freight company has developed the Bayern-Shuttle, a solution good enough to take home the German Award for Supply Chain Management 2021 – the first time ever the award has gone to a rail company. Recycling plays a vital role in how raw materials are used in the steel industry, making steel a sustainable material with a bright future. The ability to reprocess steel has proven to be a true miracle of sustainability, making it the most recycled material worldwide and ensuring an excellent environmental footprint throughout its life cycle. In almost all steelworks, steel products are funnelled back in to the production process once their useful life has come to an end. This saves energy and resources. As an environmentally friendly international group and a major green pioneer, voestalpine is committed to the global climate targets and its greentec steel strategy, a clear plan to decarbonise steel production. As a crucial part of the production process, steel recycling also helps to reduce emissions of substances such as the harmful greenhouse gas CO2.
Transport is a key factor in the cycle
To this end, DB Cargo's Bayern-Shuttle ensures the Bavarian automotive industry and its suppliers are kept well stocked with voestalpine's steel coils using environmentally friendly transport. In a completely new goods cycle, steel is delivered by rail from voestalpine in Linz, Austria, to destinations across Bavaria. In the opposite direction, freight trains haul scrap from automobile factories to the steelworks in Linz, all with zero carbon emissions. This is possible because even the CO2 emissions from the last mile by truck are offset by the purchase of climate certificates. This also means that the basic idea of the Bayern-Shuttle is adaptable to other products and industries. It is important for senders, recipients and service providers to work together on the concept until it is truly well-rounded and creates a win-win situation for everyone. This is how DB Cargo provides companies with customised solutions that help them achieve their climate targets. For voestalpine and the Bayern-Shuttle, this means emitting 8,000 tonnes less CO2 per year compared to road transport.
Out of all means of transport, rail is the most sustainable
A single train moves an average of 1,000 tonnes of cargo, replacing some 52 trips by lorry. Rail significantly outperforms road in terms of its carbon footprint, with trains emitting over 80% less CO2 than lorry transport. The automotive industry relies on flexible supply chains to multiple destinations, often running at night. The challenge is therefore to design a clever solution to introduce the advantages of rail into this complex supply chain. An efficient rail transport concept is the only feasible eco-friendly way to handle steelworks’ high production volume of several million tonnes per year.
A winning combination
DB Cargo’s Bayern-Shuttle combines the speed of block trains with the flexibility of single wagons. Weekday operations combine the consignments for three premium carmakers in Bavaria. Every day, any quantity of cargo up to the capacity limit can be put on the train for each of its three destinations; DB Cargo delivers it overnight. The concept is similar to a "milk run": the train travels to each destination on a fixed schedule and drops off a group of wagons there. To shrink its carbon footprint, the Bayern-Shuttle avoids any empty runs. High-quality steel scrap is collected from each of the three car manufacturing sites and transported to the voestalpine steelworks in Linz overnight. This not only eliminates the emissions from empty runs but also enables daily delivery and pick-up at all locations, too. This loaded-loaded solution means DB Cargo can achieve maximum flexibility and speed in a resilient transport chain. Every day, the Bayern-Shuttle serves seven sidings with two different types of freight wagon and fluctuating volumes.