This year, Operail plans to increase the amount of grain transported by rail by as much as three times. Increasingly large amounts of other goods are also transported by container lines.
This season, Operail bought 75 new top-loading bulk containers, significantly increasing the amount of grain transported by rail. ‘We have estimated that this season, our freight lines will be able to reduce road traffic by 6,000 truckloads’ worth of grain, which is a threefold increase compared to last year,’ said Urmas Peterson, Head of Multimodal Transport at Operail. ‘Grain is transported in containers because it allows the grain to be quickly loaded from trucks to containers and vice versa, and does not require special elevator infrastructure.’
One of the challenges in introducing the new containers was speeding up the loading time of grain; the containers are usually emptied with special container dumpers. ‘Together with our partners, we have developed a method for safely and quickly removing, reattaching, and securing container covers,’ said Peterson. Using this method, the driver can open or close the container cover while standing on the ground without having to make a four-metre climb. ‘Our solution makes transportation much more efficient and helps to save time, which is a valuable resource in harvesting.’
In addition to grain, other groups of goods are also transported by container trains. In the first seven months of the year, Operail has transported 70% more containers on domestic container lines than during the same period last year. ‘The growth of the multimodal freight service has been noticeable – as at July, we have transported 3,310 containers, i.e. we are on the track of reducing goods traffic on highways by 16,000 trucks in 2020. Freight volumes have grown by as much as 75%, reaching 78,150 tonnes,’ said Peterson. According to Peterson, the transport of crushed stone has seen a dramatic increase – the number of containers has increased by about two and a half times. ‘Considering that the new containers are able to transport more goods, then in terms of weight, the transport of crushed stone has tripled.’
Transporting goods by rail instead of on roads reduces the ecological footprint of the transport sector and increases road safety. Operail’s multimodal freight transport was named the greatest logistics achievement of 2019.