Generic ÖBB Rail Cargo Group wagons (Photo: David Payr/ÖBB RCG)

EUROPE: ÖBB Rail Cargo Group says it is dedicating ‘all available resources’ to transporting grain out of Ukraine as part of the European Commission’s Solidarity Lanes plan to protect food supplies following the Russian invasion and blockade of Black Sea ports.

The capacity of RCG trains to Austria is to be gradually doubled to around 2 600 tonnes during July, and trains to Hungary will be increased by up to 66% to 6 500 to 9 100 tonnes.

Between March and May, RCG transported more than 130 000 tonnes of grain from Ukraine to Germany, Italy, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. Its Rail Cargo Hungaria subsidiary is responsible for around 75% of grain exports from Ukraine to Hungary, and currently runs 10 to 15 trains per week. Around 70% of this grain stays in Hungary, while the remaining 30% is exported, mostly to Italy.

RCG transported more than 33 500 tonnes of grain from Reni on the Romanian border to the port of Constanța, until diesel shortages made it necessary to switch to inland waterways in May. There are currently four barges sailing between Reni and Constanța on behalf of RCG, transporting around 20 000 tonnes/ month.

‘I’m glad that the ÖBB Rail Cargo Group is able to make a small contribution to supporting Ukrainian agriculture in this difficult period and secure seeds and storage space for the next harvest, while also ensuring the supply of affordable grain worldwide’, said CEO Clemens Först on June 24.