Rail Cargo Group: Mr. Rauscher, what products are manufactured here every day by Zellstoff Pöls AG?
Andreas Rauscher: We have two products. One is our pulp, the ORION brand. We produce around 450,000 metric tons of this per year. On the other hand, today we produce almost 100,000 tons and in the near future around 200,000 tons of our kraft paper STARKRAFT – this special paper product serves, for example, as a paper bag for bakery products or gift wrapping paper.
What ist he role of RCG here?
Rauscher: RCG mainly transports the main raw materials round wood and wood chips for us. The wood comes mainly from Austria, a small part from Eastern Europe. About half of it comes today by rail to Pöls, the other half by truck. Our idea for future developments is that we should continue to expand the “rail” route. We have our own siding, which currently handles about 20,000 freight cars with raw materials per year. In addition to pulp, we also want to take paper out by rail in the future, where we are investing just 130 million euros in a new paper production plant. If we increase volumes, it will be essential for these transports to be carried out by rail and thus in an environmentally friendly manner.
Speaking of environmentally friendly. To what extent is the topic of sustainability anchored in Zellstoff Pöls AG?
Rauscher: Environmentally compatible production is an issue that is very high on our agenda. Our emissions are well below the limits set by the authorities. In addition to pulp and paper, we also produce energy here, which means, for example, that in addition to Pöls, we also supply the Upper Murtal with district heating, which we recover from waste heat. In addition, the energy generated in our production process makes us self-sufficient. RCG is the ideal logistics partner for us in several respects. On the one hand, the roads are relieved thanks to rail freight transports, and on the other, the environment benefits from lower pollutant and noise emissions. Plus, Pöls is not due to a major traffic flow. That is why rail is a sensible and right way for us to grow both efficiently and in an environmentally friendly way.
In terms of growth – especially internationally – RCG still has some plans. In your opinion, what are the key factors that will make rail freight even more attractive in the future?
Rauscher: It is important that logistics function smoothly and are reliable. Logically, the railways cannot act in exactly the same way as the truck, which is why planning and organisation must be forward-looking. If both sides do that, it works perfectly. And when long distances have to be covered during transport, the railways are the means of transport par excellence. That is why we are not only interested, but also consciously want to develop further together with RCG. We are engaged in intensive discussions with our logistics partner and thus form the basis for further growth together. I see that a lot is developing at RCG and that there is a lot of development potential for both sides here. Particularly from a socio-political point of view, as much traffic as possible should be transported by rail, for example to reduce particulate pollution in larger cities. From an environmental and noise point of view, there is, in my opinion, no alternative to rail.