Timber transport between the north and south of Slovakia with both-sided utilisation
For the railways, there is intense competition from truck transport, including the area of heavy timber logs transport. Moving logs to railways is always a success. And the latest ZSSK CARGO case study cleverly uses the utilisation of wagons that would otherwise travel by rail empty.
Up to 41% of Slovakia's territory is covered by forests. That is why the wood processing industry is one of the critical sectors – and it does it sustainably. No raw material imports are needed, and forests are naturally renewable resources. In the past, wood processing companies were built mainly near logging. However, these places are constantly changing according to the current logging plan, and traffic must adapt to this. In addition, in a highly competitive global environment, only very efficient companies that consume large amounts of wood will succeed. These include the Ružomberok pulp and paper mill Mondi SCP, which mainly processes hardwood pulpwood. In the area of sawmill and building timber, there are the Rettenmeier Tatratimber in Liptovský Hrádok and the sawmill PRP Tomášovce. ZSSK CARGO team managed to skilfully maximise the circulation of timber wagons to eliminate the transport of empty wagons between the south and north of Slovakia and combine their use for these customers.
Small Groups of Wagons that Do Big Things
The station in Lisková near Ružomberok is essential as a handover station for inbound shipments of wood, chemicals, sodium hydroxide and outbound shipments of cellulose for Mondi SCP. Local trains serving the line to Orava and upper Liptov regions also regularly depart from this station. Class 742 and 751 locomotives of ZSSK CARGO serve customers along these routes. A regular local train to Liptovský Hrádok departs to upper Liptov every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. Its load consists of tank cars heading from Leopoldov to the distillery in Liptovský Mikuláš or covered wagons for the transport of construction timber, which regularly depart loaded from Liptovský Hrádok to distant Greece. But the main job is wood. This is collected at various stations in Slovakia in individual wagon consignments and unloaded directly on the siding of the Rettenmeier Tatratimber company.
Empty Wagons from Nearby Shipments
Since March, empty log wagons have often joined the local train to Liptovský Hrádok. After the logistic trains with hardwood from Zemplín and Tekov regions and the surroundings of Bratislava and Leopoldov arrived in Ružomberok for the weekend unloading, empty unloaded wagons are handed over in the station of Lisková. But, they are not sent empty to load another logistics train just yet. ZSSK CARGO utilises empty wagons more. On the way to Liptovský Hrádok, there are five empty wagons shunted at the railport in Liptovský Mikuláš station on Monday, followed by another five on Tuesday. These wagons are from empty wagons from Lisková, or often wagons that brought wood for the sawmill in Liptovský Hrádok on the same day. In the afternoon, they are already unloaded and delivered for loading in Liptovský Mikuláš.
From Liptov via Žilina to Lučenec
On its afternoon return from upper Liptov, Wednesday's local train must pick up ten or more loaded wagons and transport them to Lisková. Their receiver is the sawmill PRP Tomášovce near Lučenec. After the joining of these wagons in the regular mixed freight train to Žilina Teplička marshalling yard, they are assembled into another mixed freight train, this time heading to Zvolen and its marshalling yard. From here, they continue to Tomášovice for unloading. However, if there is enough load in Lisková in the direction of Zvolen, then a direct train is created, which goes to Zvolen via Vrútky, skipping the Žilina yard. According to the customer, these shipments should continue at regular weekly intervals until the end of the year.
Green Rail Transports for Shorter Distances Too
We have already written that the railway can compete with truck transport even at very short distances. In March, ZSSK CARGO managed to beat truck transport and provide a greener way of transporting wood on the Hronská Dúbrava - Tomášovce route. Here, ZSSK CARGO transported lumber in a group of 5 wagons in 1,200 m3. In this case, the ZSSK CARGO local trains were behind the success. From Zvolen, the Class 736 locomotives coupled empty wagons for scrap loading and empty timber wagons to Hronská Dúbrava. Then, after the transfer to the local train to Tomášovice, logs reached this important and growing domestic wood processing company.