On 30.9.2019 the first continuously electrically organised temperature-controlled delivery of flowers near Venlo in the Netherlands was received at the Port of Vienna. The initiators are the partners of the International Economic Programme “Connecting success formulas – sustainable mobility and energy in Austria and the Netherlands”, represented by Julia Williams. They were actively supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Oldenburger Transport, Westerman Multimodal Logistics, THT New Cool, Tinie Manders Transport, Hytruck Consult, Emodz New Mobility, the Port of Vienna, WienCont Container Terminal GmbH and thinkport VIENNA. The group laid the foundation for a green transport corridor between the Netherlands and Austria. Together they have made this first important step towards the long-term implementation of fully electric long-distance freight transport possible.
Linking cities with mind – this is the motto of the organizers. Flowers and packaging material were transported by Oldenburger Transport from Aalsmeer. The company transports 25 full truckloads of plants per week from the Netherlands to Austria. One of these transports was replaced by an electric intermodal transport. A refrigerated trailer powered by an electrically driven refrigeration unit, built by THT New Cool, was transported from Venlo by an electrically driven DAF/VDL semitrailer tractor to a container terminal in Herne and loaded onto the railway. From there it was transported to the port of Vienna by an electrically driven freight train. There the refrigerated semi-trailer was reloaded with the crane in the container terminal of WienCont onto an electrically driven semitrailer tractor in order to continue from there to Rosen Waibel Münchendorf GmbH and be unloaded. To avoid an empty run, the trailer will return to the Netherlands with a full load of palletized goods from Oldenburger Transport BV.
Nina TELLEGEN, Executive Director Amsterdam Economic Board: „Orange is the new green. In a Triple Helix cooperation model of innovation, including academia, industry and government, we want to actively demonstrate Dutch groundbreaking technologies and take concrete steps in cleaner and smarter transport to ensure livable, accessible and sustainable regions. Our goal is a green corridor that demonstrates the responsibility of smart cities beyond the boundaries of urban space.“
Peter HANKE, City Councillor for Finance, Economics, Digitisation and International Affairs, adds: “The City of Vienna has been investing in public transport for decades with the clear goal of creating emission-free mobility for our citizens. This also has an effect: Vienna has the lowest CO2 emissions per capita in Austria, namely 5.5 compared to 11 tons. The e-Truck project is an exciting approach to steering freight transport into new, innovative railways. Smart cities such as Amsterdam and Vienna in particular can cooperate even more closely in the future and make targeted sustainable investments. Whether urban technology or flower deliveries by e-Truck – one thing is clear: the sustainable future is emerging in our cities!”
In the course of this first continuously electrically organised transport, it is to be determined which organisational and technical steps are still necessary in order to be able to carry out such transports on a large scale. The list of points to be considered ranges from the communication of the participants in the transport chain, through the availability of appropriate vehicles, to the provision of the appropriate charging infrastructure at relevant points along the transport route. In addition, of course, the electricity mix used for rail transport in the individual countries is also highly relevant and must be taken into account in the overall assessment. This transport was only possible through the cooperation of many actors. The refrigerated trailer from Westerman Multimodal Logistics and the semitrailer tractor from Tinie Manders Int. Transport & Logistiek in the Netherlands were made available especially for this transport. It is therefore a demonstration project that aims to show all players what is necessary to transport goods economically and fully electrically, and thus without direct emissions, over long distances. It is still a long way from a purely economic, technological and ecological point of view to establishing this type of transport as a standard. It is a demonstration project which should show that it is possible in principle and that “doing” a great learning is created for all participants. This helps to better understand the complexity and to derive recommendations for action – that is the aim of the initiators. Building on this, they also want to win other partners for a green transport corridor and thus create an economically and ecologically interesting option for the future. The planned cooperation programme is called “Zero-e from A to B” and is to run from 2020 to 2025.
Frans van BERGEIJK, Director of Oldenburger Transport: „Oldenburger transport has been delivering flowers and plants from Holland to Austria since 1997. We are looking into possibilities for making our transport more sustainable. We, therefore, played an active role in this unique temperature-controlled demonstration. Much still needs to be done to make zero-emission transport cost-effective, though.”
The transport was solemnly received at the Port of Vienna by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, Julia Williams as representative of the initiators, and a Dutch business delegation, together with the City Councillor for Finance, Economy, Digitisation and International Affairs, Peter Hanke, the Managing Director of Wien Holding Kurt Gollowitzer and the Technical Director of the Vienna Port, Doris Pulker-Rohrhofer. To underline the mutual will to develop a transport corridor between the two cities, a symbolic sculpture was exchanged between Femke Halsema and Peter Hanke. There is great interest in facing the challenges together and meeting them with new approaches.
Kurt GOLLOWITZER, Managing Director of Wien Holding: “Vienna has an excellent reputation in the world and is associated with many positive attributes. With this demonstration project we would like to add another one: Vienna as the address to test and implement innovative and sustainable solutions”.
Julia WILLIAMS, coordinator of the Partners for International Business programme “Erfolgsformeln verbinden”: “An important topic in our programme is zero-emission long-distance transport. Hence our initiative to carry out this unique demonstration transport of flowers. Our aim is to discover which issues still need to be solved to make cost-effective zero-emission long-range transport possible. We have discovered quite a few. Thus, we are in a position to make a good start to our 5-year follow-up programme “Zero-e, from A to B”. We hope many Austrian parties will join, so that together we can make significant progress.”
Doris PULKER-ROHRHOFER, Technical Managing Director of the Port of Vienna: “Testing and implementation – that’s what we as the Port of Vienna have set out to do with thinkport VIENNA! It is not always easy to change what we are used to and to break new ground, and success is not necessarily inevitable. That’s why there has to be someone who shows how things can be different and what is necessary. That is our intention – to show and inspire alternatives!”
The flower transport project is intended to open up the promotion of a green cross-border corridor between Amsterdam and Vienna.
After the festive reception, the e-Truck could be viewed at the area of the Freudenau harbour. There were also e-Loadbikes from Paris Maderna KG and Heavy Pedals freightbikes transport and sale OG as well as a fully electric camper van available for test drives. Young companies and start-ups in cooperation with thinkport VIENNA presented themselves and their projects. UrbanFoody, SCHNURRR and Hubert Stadtlogistik were present. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the Dutch documentation “why we cycle” with the first Viennese bicycle cinema of the CycleCinemaClub was shown as part of an open-air cinema installation on the Freudenau premises of the Port of Vienna. The presentation of the documentation was sponsored by the Dutch Embassy.
Photos: (c) Monika Fellner