Stage

 Polish fuel coke smelts iron in Germany

The fuel used to fire furnaces in Singen, a city in southwest Germany, travels through three countries to get there. Fuel coke has virtually disappeared as a means of heating homes, but it is still used to produce a range of modern materials in the industrial sector.

The end user of Polish fuel coke is Fondium, a company formerly known as Georg Fischer, which produces aluminium, magnesium and iron cast goods for the auto industry and other applications at its sites in Singen and Mettmann in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Coke generates a similar level of heat as coal, which it is produced from, but it emits less smoke and soot, and it also contains less sulphur. Its chemical profile improves the quality of the resulting molten metal.

Fondium opted to have its fuel delivered by train after parallel test runs with lorries were unable to maintain the same quality as DB Cargo's services. The company was impressed by the timeliness of DB Cargo's deliveries.

The transport chain begins at a Polish coking plant in Częstochowa, not far from Katowice, where containers are loaded onto the wagons of a local rail operator. They first head to Ostrava in the Czech Republic, and then on to the German border town of Bad Schandau, southeast of Dresden. DB Cargo takes over transportation duties from there and hauls the groups, normally consisting of five to ten wagons, to the rail terminal in Singen. Lorries are used only for the final stretch from the terminal to what was formerly the Georg Fischer factory.

The main contact for this undertaking is Regensburg-based intermodal and bulk goods specialist NYYLO, which has handed off similar Sweden-bound transports to DB Cargo for many years. The freight is transported in 30-foot open-top containers.