Interview - Georg Huber: Salinen Austria AG

21. 05. 2019

From the Altaussee, Hallstadt and Bad Ischl extraction sites, the "white gold" is transported via several kilometres of pipelines to the main site in Ebensee. Salinen Austria AG processes the purest evaporated salt there mainly into industrial salt, pharmaceutical salt and table salt, which is then transported to numerous international destinations.

We met Georg Huber, Head of Purchasing and Logistics, for an interview.


Georg Huber

Head of Procurement and Logistics

Salinen Austria AG

"We need a logistics partner who acts as a full-service provider."

Rail Cargo Group: Mr. Huber, with a daily loading capacity of about 15,000 tonnes of loose salt and about 3,600 tonnes of palletized goods, professional supply chain management is the key. Is logistics therefore an essential factor for the success of Salinen Austria AG?

Georg Huber: The logistics framework conditions decide whether we want to establish ourselves in a market or not. First and foremost, we calculate the transport costs and only then we know whether this market is interesting for us. By cooperating with RCG, we are in any case in a position to cover large distances effectively and have the opportunity to further expand our radius of action. We now transport pellets and table salt by rail to southern Italy as far as Apulia, Campania and partly also Sicily. The other main route extends as far as Bucharest. RCG also handles salt transports for us to Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Turkey.

RCG: About which transport quantities are we talking here?

Huber: On a national level, RCG transports more than 170,000 tonnes of industrial salt and de-icing salt. In the palletized area, more than 100,000 tons of special salts - such as table salt for water treatment, pharmaceutical salt for sodium chloride solutions or curing salt for sausage and cheese producers - reach the commercial end consumer. Italy in particular is an important international market for Salinen Austria AG. We have shifted half of our transports from road to rail, which means a major reduction in CO2 emissions. RCG takes over the traction from Ebensee, hands over the train at the border to its Italian colleagues and also has its own warehouse in Desio. From there, it is distributed to the customer. This means that the entire logistics chain is in one hand.

RCG: Do end-to-end logistics solutions play a central role in the choice of your logistics partner?

Huber: That is very important for us. We need a partner who acts as a full-service provider. In addition, long transport distances can be covered most effectively by rail. We would be very limited with the truck - docking at the factory, loading comparatively small quantities, then driving away and standing in traffic jams. We do not have these issues with the railways. In addition, we use RCG's warehouse locations in southern Italy and Romania to be able to supply our customers within very short supply intervals or to be able to react locally. 

RCG: How satisfied are you with RCG's responsiveness?

Huber: In the recent past, RCG has proven its flexibility: In September last year we had to handle a considerably high additional volume for a European destination, and the first wagons rolled on this route as early as October. And six months later we celebrated the thousandth wagon that was handled as part of this special project. It works because we have developed a form of cooperation with RCG that is based on mutual trust and is constantly being developed. That's why we want to grow massively together with our logistics partner over the next two to three years. Our products and the Austrian quality are very much demanded, especially in the area of pellets.

RCG: When it comes to transport services, you are prefering the environmentally friendly rail. How important is sustainability for Salinen Austria?

Huber: The transports carried out by RCG certainly contribute to an improved energy balance. The Italian transports mentioned above save a lot of CO2. For us as a large industrial company, this is not unimportant. In any case, Salinen Austria is pushing ahead with environmentally friendly traffic - especially in the transport sector. If I were to imagine that we would transport 120,000 tonnes a year by lorry in the transit country of Tyrol, six to eight lorries would be transporting our goods across the Brenner every day. The railway is the only useful alternative.