Snow and ice – gritting salt comes by MOBILER

08. 02. 2023

ÖBB Rail Cargo Group (RCG) uses innovative MOBILER logistics to transport large quantities of salt produced by Salinen Austria AG to the Port of Vienna.

A huge amount of salt is needed in winter to keep Vienna’s roads and pavements ice-free all the time, including in snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures. But where does it come from and how does it get to the big cities? The short answer: on our MOBILER containers. The salt starts its journey in Austria’s Salzkammergut, 255 kilometres away. Here, the salt is extracted and processed by Salinen Austria AG at its Altaussee, Hallstatt and Bad Ischl sites. Every year, four million cubic metres of brine are used to produce 1.2 million tonnes of salt.

Safe and speedy

Once the salt has been processed, it’s time for RCG to take over. That’s because it’s up to us to transport the salt from Ebensee in Upper Austria to Freudenau, part of the Port of Vienna, where the salt goes into temporary storage. This is where our innovative MOBILER containers come into play. These combine the benefits of environmentally friendly rail transport with flexible road freight transport in a single system. A hydraulic lifting mechanism on MOBILER vehicles enables quick and easy transshipment between truck and wagon – no crane or siding needed. This also means that the salt shipments don’t require any staff for unloading at the port – the containers can be emptied directly into warehouses using MOBILER vehicles. Once it is no longer possible to unload directly into the depot, the salt is fed into boxes in the warehouse via a hopper and conveyor belt.

We transport gritting salt from Ebensee to Vienna every week. Our trains are 200 metres long, consist of groups of five wagons and weigh about 500 tonnes each. In January 2023 alone, 2,000 tonnes of salt were delivered to the country’s capital. As well as the rail transport and the wagon and container positioning, we also organise unloading in the port area. 

Peter Untersperger, CEO of Salinen Austria AG

Long-time partners

With 550 employees, Salinen Austria AG is one of the leading salt manufacturers in Europe and has been a partner of RCG for many years. The gritting salt that we transport for Salinen Austria in an environmentally friendly way by rail comes to about 30,000 tonnes every year, depending on the weather and precipitation levels. This corresponds to an annual saving of about 1,200 truck journeys. CEO Peter Untersperger: “The supply chain by train from Ebensee to Freudenau is the most sustainable and effective transport solution for Austria.” 

The Port of Vienna and RCG have a long and positive working relationship too. The Port of Vienna is the largest port on the Danube and is also the largest trimodal (rail, road and ship) freight transport centre in eastern Austria. It handled 3.8 million tonnes of goods in 2021. “The Port of Vienna has the largest facility for storing gritting salt in eastern Austria, with a total capacity of 45,000 tonnes,” says Doris Pulker-Rohrhofer, Technical Managing Director.

Doris Pulker-Rohrhofer, Technical Managing Director at the Port of Vienna, and Christopher Prax-Huber, RCG Department Manager of MOBILER, handling gritting salt