Arge Baustahl on the rails: Back to the roots

23. 11. 2022

Arge Baustahl Eisen Blasy-Neptun GmbH started its success story in 1949 as the first iron-bending company in Austria. It specialises in reinforcement steel for concrete, or rather reinforced concrete. Following a short break, the company is now using rail to transport its goods again, saving emissions of around 400 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Managing Director Clemens Schirmer explains why rail is the best solution for Arge Baustahl to transport its products, and what measures the company is taking to promote the shift to rail. 

Managing Director Clemens Schirmer and Gottfried Eymer, Member of the Executive Board RCG

In which field are you active? Which products do you transport by rail?  

We work in construction and trade in reinforcement steel and thus transport our steel exclusively by rail. Reinforced concrete is an integral part of construction today. Steel has high tensile strength, and concrete has high compressive strength. The fundamental principle behind using reinforced concrete as a building material is to use steel to strengthen parts of a structure that are subject to tensile stress and to use the compressive strength of the concrete in other parts of the structure. We currently transport a production volume of 20,000 tonnes per year by rail. Over 80,000 tonnes were transported by rail between the start of transshipment operations in Innsbruck in 2018 and May 2022. This enabled us to save almost 430 tonnes of CO2 in 2021 alone.

It all started in 1949 with an iron-bending workshop. How are things looking today?

When our business started in 1949, we were transporting half a wagon of steel every two weeks, exclusively by rail. We have been continuously expanding ever since, but for a while we only used lorry transport, before finding our way back onto the rails in 2018. Nowadays we need up to 15 wagons at our three different locations on peak days. 

In 2018 you invested in industrial sidings in Innsbruck in order to shift your transport to rail. What are the advantages of rail transport for your company?

Certain suppliers have become more interesting in terms of price as a result of the switch, so it has increased our choice of suppliers. Unloading gives us more flexibility in our working hours. And last but not least, we owe it to the environment and our children to reduce our carbon footprint – rail transport is essential for this. Thanks to the railway, we are already saving 800-900 lorry transits per year. We are looking to increase this figure even further by expanding rail transport to our other workshop locations. 

How would you describe your experience of working with RCG?

Very simple and straightforward – RCG has far exceeded our expectations.

What will it take to shift more transport from road to rail?

Not much, but every company has to discover the benefits for itself. For our part, we are always looking at new ideas and projects that would help us shift additional volumes onto the rails. It was not until 2021 that rail deliveries via the Frastanz general loading track to the company’s Frastanz site began. There we handle reinforcement steel in coils. In 2022 we started developing a logistics concept for the Frastanz site, working alongside a partner terminal in Feldkirch. The aim is to shift deliveries of other products, such as welded wire mesh and reinforcement steel in bars, onto the rails as well. The first test shipments have already been carried out. In 2022, rail deliveries began to arrive at our site in Ötztal-Bahnhof via the Stams regional terminal. 

Beyond climate-friendly rail transport, what does your company do in terms of sustainability?

We use a solar power system to supply our energy and use a heat pump as an environmentally friendly way of keeping our buildings warm.