Road and Rail Merges the Best of Both Worlds
Girteka, the largest asset-based road freight company in Europe, and CargoBeamer, a leading operator of rail connections and terminals for non-craneable semi-trailers in Europe, have reached a significant milestone in their partnership. In October 2023, both companies realized the 20,000th Girteka semi-trailer transport on a CargoBeamer train since the start of their collaboration. Girteka is the first road freight company to achieve this milestone with CargoBeamer.
The partnership between both companies was initiated back in October 2017, when Girteka booked its first units on CargoBeamer’s trains. The main artery for their intermodal operations has since been the route from Kaldenkirchen (Germany) to Domodossola (Italy). In the summer and fall of 2020, the companies successfully tested several trains between Germany and Lithuania, specifically connecting Kaldenkirchen to Šeštokai and Kaldenkirchen to Kaunas.
Further solidifying their commitment to sustainable logistics, the companies announced an extension of their partnership to two new intermodal routes in January 2022. By October this year, the latest significant benchmark was reached: the successful transportation of more than 20,000 semi-trailers in an environmentally friendly way by rail.
Working Together on Decarbonizing Logistics
The transport sector is undergoing a transformative moment in Europe, underscored by the urgency to decarbonize. Currently, road transport is a major contributor to CO2 emissions, accounting for 25% of Europe’s total emissions. In response to this environmental concern, Europe has outlined a strategy known as “Fit for 55” aiming for a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.
One of the ways of achieving this target, recognized by the European Commission (EC), is intermodal transport solutions. Girteka and CargoBeamer have taken on the mission to make freight transportation more environmentally friendly together.
“The flexibility and capacity that large logistics companies like Girteka bring to the table are indispensable in keeping Europe’s goods flowing, especially in uncertain times. By integrating road and rail through intermodal solutions, we are creating a logistics network that is not only more sustainable but also more adaptable to the challenges ahead. We are very happy to have Girteka on board as a cornerstone customer for many years now and were excited to celebrate the 20,000th Girteka trailer transported on our trains recently,” says Boris Timm, Chief Operating Officer at CargoBeamer.
Almost 3% of Malta’s Quarterly Emissions Saved
Since the start of the collaboration between CargoBeamer and Girteka, the two companies have saved a total of 16,617 tons of CO2 emissions compared to what would have been emitted using road transport only.
To break down these figures: 15,044 tons of CO2 represent the direct CO2 emissions reduction achieved by using rail instead of road; an additional 1,572 tons of CO2 were offset through CargoBeamer’s carbon neutrality initiative, which was enacted at the start of 2022. Total emissions reduction amounts to almost 3% of Malta’s quarterly emissions.
“We are not just moving goods from point A to B. We are committed to doing it in a way that is kinder to the Earth. CargoBeamer helps us do that by making it easier and faster to switch from road to rail, which significantly cuts down on carbon emissions,” says Mindaugas Pasilauskas, CEO of Girteka Europe West.
In partnership with CargoBeamer, Girteka already covered more than 17.2 million kilometers of its cargo deliveries. CargoBeamer’s innovative horizontal and parallel loading and unloading technology allows for the quick handling of full intermodal trains in record time of about 20 minutes, allowing cargo to be delivered in approximately 22 hours while covering a distance of 825 km.
The company’s first proprietary terminal, containing the horizontal transshipment technology, was opened in Calais, France, in 2021. Two more CargoBeamer Terminals equipped with the unique handling technology are to be opened in Kaldenkirchen and Domodossola in the near future.
The collaborative venture between Girteka and CargoBeamer stands as a concrete example of how intermodal transport — integrating road and rail logistics — can be both feasible and environmentally responsible. The partnership demonstrates the effectiveness of intermodal transport in reducing carbon emissions and offering resilient supply chain solutions.