Freight belongs on trains. Steel even more so. It's a fact that many companies in Italy are well aware of. For the first time ever, the steel sales unit at DB Cargo Italia Services, a subsidiary of DB Cargo, moved over 1 million tons of steel for its Italian customers in 2021. The figure in 2020 was just 645,000 tons, down some 20% on the preceding years. However, the latest statistics show that steel transports have not only recovered from their pandemic-induced slump; they have also seen a sharp increase over pre-Covid levels. Two factors are driving this growth. For one thing, existing customers are transporting more freight by rail, and DB Cargo has also won new customers. For another thing, customers have access to DB Cargo's Europe-wide single wagon network.
DB Cargo and DB Cargo Italia Services work together to dispatch international train transports. While DB Cargo handles the business of moving wagons within the rail network, DB Cargo Italia Services concentrates mainly on the first mile, which entails door-to-door transports for customers without a private siding. This has a twofold impact. Companies benefit from flexible transport capacity (thanks to the single-wagon network, block trains can carry up to 2,000 tons of steel to their various destinations) while also enjoying uncomplicated access to the rail system.
Reliable transport despite the pandemic
There is another factor for rail's success: It proved to be a reliable form of transport for the steel industry throughout the pandemic. Massimiliano Caglio, sales manager at DB Cargo Italia Services, and his colleague Sarah Erian also believe there are other reasons. "We have grown because lorries are in short supply and because the cost of moving freight by ship has gone up," Caglio says. "These changes presented DB Cargo Italia Services with an opportunity. We seized it immediately by making the most of our own transport capacities and our dependable connections." According to Erian, "Environmental issues have also become important to Italian customers. Thanks to rail transport, they can drastically reduce their CO2 emissions."