AUSTRIA’s new Waste Management Act will come into force on January 1 which will mandate the transport by rail of shipments of waste weighing more than 10 tonnes and that are being transported 300km or further.

The minimum distance will be cut to 200km on January 1 2024 and will be reduced even further on January 1 2026 when it becomes 100km.

Austrian Federal Railways’ (ÖBB) Rail Cargo Group (RCG) already transports around 8 million tonnes of waste and secondary materials such as scrap metal, municipal waste and waste from the construction industry by rail annually in Austria. “This saves more than 146,000 tonnes of CO2 annually compared with transporting it by truck, and around 300,000 truck journeys are avoided,” says RCG.

RCG estimates that when the new law comes into force, there is the potential to transport around 15 million tonnes of waste by rail.

Austria’s Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) will provide a digital platform for managing rail transport tenders. But RCG says it is already inviting clients to work with it to develop and implement individual rail logistics solutions.

In preparation for the new law, RCG is making an initial investment of €75m in new Mobiler containers and platform wagons so that it can handle the additional waste traffic. This will gradually double the number of Mobiler containers to reach 2500 units by 2026.

RCG says Mobiler logistics units, consisting of containers, intermodal freight wagons and road vehicles, can be used flexibly for transporting a wide variety of goods. “They have been used successfully for many years, particularly for waste disposal and for transporting construction materials,” RGC says. “The hydraulic lifting device on the Mobiler semi-trailer makes it possible to transfer Mobiler containers from truck to wagon without a crane or dedicated industrial siding.”