Sustainable timber transport for KLH

10. 05. 2023

Solid wood panel producer KLH has been transporting cross laminated timber from Carinthia in Austria to the rest of the world via its own connection line since 2022. Even the very first delivery saved 76 tonnes of CO2 when compared to classic truck transport. Interview with Managing Director Marco Huter.

KLH is a pioneer in the production of cross laminated timber (Kreuzlagenholz-KLH®, CLT, X-LAM). This is made by stacking spruce lamellas on top of each other and sticking them together using adhesive which is subjected to high pressure to form large-format construction elements. KLH® - CLT are construction elements with a high level of prefabrication for fast, ecological construction methods. KLH has been relying on RCG's logistics solutions for the transport of these products since 2022. We interview Managing Director Marco Huter to find out why.

KLH Managing Director Marco Huter

Which products do you transport by rail and what kind of distribution network do you have?

We developed our product back in 1996 in cooperation with the Graz University of Technology and are one of the leading companies in our industry internationally. As a result, the large KLH® solid wood panels are used not only in Europe, but also worldwide as wall, ceiling and roof elements in structural timber engineering. Our newest location in Bad St. Leonhard, which houses the world's most modern automated production line, utilised the flawless rail infrastructure to transport five wagons – the equivalent of twelve truckloads – to Trondheim in Norway in August 2022.

What made you decide to use rail transport?

In addition to the infrastructural component, the environmental impact was a decisive factor for us. Rail transport makes a significant contribution to the already very good carbon footprint of KLH®. We are committed to responsible environmental practices, both internally and externally.

How long have you had your own railway siding?

The direct siding was put into operation by the RCG on 1 August 2022, much to our delight, following upgrades to the operating instructions. This provides another logistical gateway to international stakeholders.

How many transports have been completed since the siding was opened?

Demand for rail transport is rising steadily. There have been six further rail shipments since the first transport in August 2022 from Bad St. Leonhard to Trondheim in Norway. It is also in our interest to use this transport route in the future.

And what has RCG done to support you in shifting your transports from road to rail?

The expert support of the specialists from RCG ensured the smooth handling of the first delivery of 530 m³ of KLH® solid wood panels on five open Laaprs wagons to Norway. Our responsible personnel were given proper instructions by an experienced loading foreman on site on the correct loading and securing of the delivery. Our staff was also provided with a range of reference material.  

Since the switch from classic truck transport to rail, what potential CO2 savings do you see?

Transporting goods by rail is generally more environmentally friendly than by road and also reduces CO2 emissions. In our particular case, the first delivery via rail saved 76 tonnes of equivalent CO2 emissions compared to classic truck transport. This in turn supports our corporate philosophy to minimise CO2 emissions through efficient logistics in procurement and sales.

How would you describe your experience of working with RCG?

In addition to the expert instruction provided to our employees by the RCG, we also appreciate the availability of the RCG to answer any questions or provide clarification. This is also in keeping with our company's guiding principle, which is to be a knowledgeable and advisory project partner to our customers.

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

We are confident that we will carry out further rail transports with the help of RCG. We are still in the optimisation phase due to the space limitations of the wagons, but we are optimistic about the future.  

Aside from climate-friendly rail transport, how important are environmental protection and sustainability to you as a long-standing family business?

KLH Massivholz GmbH is owned by the Johann Offner Group, a family-owned company with a history of more than 250 years that upholds values and traditions. As a result, we at KLH consider respect for resources to be an essential contribution to the environment. That is why we source raw materials from sustainably managed forests and use environmentally friendly technologies and manufacturing processes.

Where do you see your company in ten years?

By increasing the use of rail transport, the company will remain true to its values and traditions. As a pioneer, we must continue to incorporate our experience into the modern age and become even more firmly established in timber construction worldwide.