Brigitte Hafner
is a communicator in the Rail Cargo Group
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Product

Caught between fields of sugar beet, multifunctional wagon equipment and la dolce vita

Have you wondered how sugar ends up in your coffee and how exactly it’s got there? Or how the biggest grain mills in Italy are supplied with grain? Come with us – and take a peek behind the scenes of our reliable agriculture and feed transport operations.

A particularly high standard of care, experience and know-how is vital when shipping grain, sugar, oilseeds, other agricultural products and feed. Feed forms the starting point of our food chain, which makes reliable feed transport all the more important. But this isn’t the only reason why natural raw materials require unconditional quality and expertise – from planning to service processing – throughout the entire logistics chain. Logistics service providers therefore have to satisfy strict criteria, legal provisions and high quality requirements. Product traceability, compliance with stipulated loading sequences or adherence to precisely defined wagon cleaning schedules are just a selection of key criteria which ensure a high standard of quality in the food and feed industry. A sophisticated quality management system, along with relevant food and feed transport certificates (ISO 22000, GMP+B3 and GMP+B4), guarantees product quality and also meets the requirements set down by the health authorities. The certificates were successfully extended in several RCG companies back in June.

From the sugar beet field to the sugar cube

September, when the sugar beet is ripe and ready for harvesting, is the high season for the logistics and transport industry. This is because tonnes of sugar beet have to be transported from the fields to the sugar factory, where they are further processed to create end products such as sugar cubes. Up until the start of January when the harvest and campaign time ends, the sugar beet is loaded onto wagons at beet collection points or stations, before being transported to the sugar factory – with the wagons being formed into block trains at intersections along the way. Over the last year, the Rail Cargo Group put 2.5 million tonnes of beet onto the railways. 49,013 wagon loads in total were processed for this purpose.

The sugar beet harvest in full swing. © APA PictureDesk / AGRANA / Schedl

 

 

Transporting the freight wagons loaded with sugar beet from the field to the sugar factory the environmentally friendly way – by rail. © ÖBB_David Payr

Sugar processing plant (c) Pixabay

Sugar packaged into 50 kilo bags. © ÖBB_Krischanz Zeiler

Innovative production concepts for a piece of la dolce vita

Innovative production concepts and uninterrupted, high-quality production operations make up the bottom line when it comes to processing sustainable agriculture and feed transport operations. Not only does our comprehensive production network, with our very own freight trains in 11 European countries, ensure shorter transport times; it also guarantees punctuality and that all-important improvement in quality. After all, the product is in our hands throughout the entire transport chain. The biggest grain mills in Italy are thus provided with block trains brimming with wheat. Fixed timetables and set routes guarantee that logistics processes are planned efficiently and therefore that all of the pasta products made in Bella Italia are produced continuously.

Freight wagons are filled with grain. © ÖBB_ Krischanz Zeiler

Highlights

But even selecting the wagon materials is key to success. The materials have to satisfy particular purity criteria and conditions for production-specific loading and unloading processes, making use of state-of-the-art wagons all the more important. And that’s why we use multifunctional wagon equipment designed specifically for agricultural products. The stainless steel wagon bodies mean that the wagons can be flexibly used and ensure practically continuous unloading, which is key when transporting organic raw materials. Cargo residue could lead to fermentation processes and impurities due to unfavourable weather and climate conditions. Cleaning and therefore delays in the loading process are the consequences of this. Freight wagons are generally loaded and used unmixed, i.e. with the same products. However, these multifunctional wagons can be used for more than just grains; they can also be used to transport other bulk goods such as fertilisers – which is a major advantage since agricultural transport varies with the seasons.