The Linz Shuttle first started moving back and forth between Rotterdam and Austria in November 2016. At first sight, the service appears to be a normal train with open, high-walled goods wagons – similar to the kind you see thundering across the Dutch countryside every day, filled with e.g. beets, scrap or gravel. This specific train arrives from Austria filled with containers, and returns to the Alps full of ore. A hybrid train, in other words, but with a twist…
“It’s truly a great concept. I’m chuffed that they’ve asked us to take part,”
— Roy de Haan, accountmanager APM Terminals
According to experts, this particular cargo type first appeared on Dutch tracks over 20 years ago. Usually, these Eanos wagons – a kind of elongated bath tub on four axles – are only used to transport dry bulk. However, the Austrian firm ILG innovative logistics group GmbH has decided to load its train with containers on its return trip from Linz. “The big advantage of this wagon type is that it allows us to load far heavier containers than the ones transported by a regular container train,” says ILG’s Wolfgang Klepatsch. “We can now load 2,150 tonnes of cargo per run – a substantial increase.”
The shuttle comprises 34 Eanos wagons, with a total capacity of 64 TEU. Klepatsch: “They are all heavy 20-foot containers that can hold at least 25 tonnes, filled with rolls of high-grade steel. On the return trip, we take along bulk materials for Voest Alpine. While this does mean having to get the wagons cleaned in Austria each time round, this minor inconvenience is definitely outweighed by the benefits.”
The Linz Shuttle currently runs once a week. But starting in April, ILG expects to step up this frequency to at least three weekly runs. “It’s truly a great concept. I’m chuffed that they’ve asked us to take part,” says Roy de Haan, Account Manager at APM Terminals. The containers are first unloaded at APM’s terminal at Maasvlakte 2. After this, the shuttle proceeds to the facility that loads it up with ore for the return trip. “That’s why around here, it’s been nicknamed the ‘coal train’,” says De Haan.