Moving more freight sustainably by shifting to rail

Heilbronn-based recycling specialist RUZ Mineralik GmbH expands its private siding.

Over 80 million tonnes of construction rubble is produced in Germany every year. But this waste doesn’t have to be wasted. Instead of treating bulk waste as a problem to be disposed of, RUZ Mineralik – a company based in Heilbronn in southwestern Germany – has created a sustainable circular economy. The company specialises in processing mineral products and waste so they can rejoin the resource cycle. It recycles construction rubble to extract new raw materials and turn this waste product into a resource for construction work.

Economic benefits of rail instead of road

RUZ Mineralik now wants to make the recycling of bulk materials even more sustainable, so the company plans to increase its use of rail freight. In preparation, it has expanded its private siding and points by 300 metres. The extended siding officially opened in August after successful test transports. Jochen Entenmann, head of track materials at RUZ Mineralik, explains the company’s motivation: “Every year, we move many millions of tonnes of mineral waste and products. This naturally raised the question of how we could optimise our current transport activities. Chronic road congestion, speedy transhipment options for large freight volumes and, of course, environmental considerations mean that the railway is perfect for us and offers a lot of potential for the future.”

Markus von Olnhausen, Managing Director of RUZ Mineralik, Jochen Entenmann, Head of Track Construction Materials, and Timo Kohl, Head of Logistics, show the colleagues from DB Cargo the new siding.

Switching from road to rail has a double advantage for RUZ, particularly when moving freight over long distances: it helps the business meet its financial and environmental targets alike. The company therefore plans to use its private siding to move materials for all kinds of products between Germany’s different regions as well as to and from neighbouring countries. The upgraded siding will also steadily enhance the appeal of rail even for shorter routes, adds Entenmann.

New private siding adds logistics capacity

Markus von Olnhausen, technical director at RUZ, says that his company’s effectiveness and transport capacity have increased considerably since its extended private siding went into operation. He translates this into figures: “In the first two months after we opened our longer siding, we were able to load and transport approximately 15,000 additional tonnes of material. We are planning to expand our freight volumes by 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes a year.” The extremely flexible transhipment options are one of the biggest benefits when transporting these larger quantities. Entenmann says, “We can dispatch almost every kind of wagon that is designed for bulk goods of some sort – hopper wagons, side-tipping wagons, flat wagons or other kinds of open-top wagons. Whatever the freight, we can handle it.” 

When RUZ invited DB Cargo to take a look at its new private siding, the rail company jumped at the opportunity, as it gave staff at sales and production the chance to see RUZ’s premises and new rail connection for themselves. Claudia Heiduk, account manager in the Stuttgart/Mannheim regional sales team, says, “RUZs larger private siding means that the company can transport more freight via the environmentally friendly rail system in future. At the same time, the shift from road to green rail services is essential so we can meet our national climate targets. We welcome the company’s decision to go with rail and expand its private siding. As a company, DB Cargo aims to provide maximum support for our customer’s project, and we will continue to build on the excellent working relationship that we already have with RUZ.”  

Award-winning: DB’s environmental seal of approval for RUZ Mineralik

We always give credit where credit is due. Every two years, suppliers that make the most sustainable and successful contributions to Deutsche Bahn’s procurement strategy are nominated for the DB Supplier Award. This year, the prize in the Environment category went to RUZ Mineralik GmbH. As a long-standing partner to the DB Group, the Heilbronn-based company plays a major role in helping Deutsche Bahn to strengthen the circular economy and boost recycling in the infrastructure business. This particularly applies to the reuse of old ballast, where RUZ makes a major contribution to sustainable resource management: its material processing work means that our CO2 emissions are up to 80% lower than they would be if we used “brand new” construction materials.