Ukraine brought into the EU rail transport loop

ÖBB CEO, Andreas Matthä, and Member of the Management Board Ukrainian Railways, Viacheslav Yeromin.

ÖBB Rail Car Group has plans underway to link its intermodal network, offering a connection between Kyiv and Vienna with stops in Budapest and Lviv.

Working with Ukrainian Railways, the new connection will be the first regular, high-frequency intermodal link between Ukraine and the numerous hubs in Central Europe.

Rail freight has proven its systemic relevance in maintaining supply security during numerous international crises, said ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä.

“The whole of Europe must grow closer together as far as rail freight transport is concerned. This is an important step in the right direction, for the economy, countries and the environment.”

Austrian ÖBB Rail Car Group has been supporting Ukraine with transport and logistics since March 2022, with more than two million tonnes of agricultural products alone, exported, equating to 100 trains per month.

The partnership, the company says, will bring advantages to customers including:

  • Full access to Rail Cargo Group maritime, continental and Eurasian connections.
  • Trucking service to any European destination.
  • Fixed schedule and attractive transit times
  • Weekly departures in both directions.

In related news, transporting more goods by rail, according to ÖBB Rail Car Group, will see the EU succeed in meeting its climate targets.

“Achieving a 30 per cent share in the continental transport mix for freight trains is possible – with the digitalisation and automation of rail transport,” said Dr Sigrid Nikutta, who is the new chair of the Rail Freight Forward initiative, a coalition of European rail freight companies.

Dr Nikutta, DB Board Member for Freight Transport and head of DB Cargo AG, has succeeded Dr Clemens Först, Board Spokesman of the ÖBB subsidiary Rail Cargo Group. Först has chaired the European rail freight initiative for five years, ever since it was founded.

“Rail is in Europe’s DNA. With more than 260,000 kilometres of rail lines, Europe has the largest continental environmental network in the world,” said Dr Nikutta.

“Compared to road transport, each freight train emits 80 per cent to 100 per cent less CO2 and replaced more than 50 trucks at a time,” she said.

The path to modernising rail freight infrastructure, according to Dr Nikutta, is a Herculean task that cannot be left to transport companies or the rules of the market alone.

“Investment in the rail system is worth it – it pays off for climate protection in Europe and the world,” said Dr Nikutta. “A strong Europe is more important than ever in the face of global challenges. And rail makes Europe strong – no other continent has such a dense network.”

At this year’s Transport Logistic trade show in Munich, the industry stood together.

Dr Nikutta said: “The goal of a 30 per cent modal share for climate-friendly rail freight transport can be achieved in just a few years. It can be done if there is support at European level for the huge task of expanding the network and upgrading to digital standards in rail freight.

Freight trains generally receive a green signal at borders – 60 per cent of all trains cross at least one national border. Around 50,000 to 60,000 freight trains per week bring provisions to the continent, with its approximately 450 million people and their businesses and industries. Ten European rail freight corridors (RFCs) provide a backbone for the European economy.

In other news, new commercial vehicle registrations are going gangbusters across the EU.

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