Bertschi Group’s CEO, Jan Arnet, said: “Today, Bertschi already operates 90% of all European land transport in intermodal transport, and is therefore well ahead of the targeted development.
“Our intermodal transports passing through Switzerland already qualify as zero-emission, as trains that travel through Switzerland use electricity obtained exclusively from non-fossil sources (hydro, solar, wind, and nuclear power).”
Major investments in intermodal transportation
With new EU incentives for shifting from road to intermodal transport, an increasing number of customers are looking for environmentally-friendly logistics.
“Thanks to Bertschi’s leading position in intermodal transport in Europe, this opens up interesting opportunities for us. But to take advantage of them will require major investments,” says Hans-Jörg Bertschi, executive chairman of the Bertschi board of directors.
Bertschi is planning the construction and expansion of its intermodal transport terminals, with the extension of the Rotterdam Botlek and Duisburg terminals planned for this year, and further investments in the Benelux soon.
Furthermore, Bertschi is increasing its focus on environmentally friendly rail transport worldwide, including trade with China via the Silk Road, in Russia, and in the US. The company is also optimizing its internal infrastructure. A significant example is the Swiss Birrfeld tank cleaning facility, where Bertschi has succeeded in reducing heating energy and CO2 emissions by two-thirds through investing in optimizations and heat recovery.
Hydrogen trucks will enable climate-neutral intermodal transport chains
The company’s next climate objective is door-to-door transport chains with zero CO2 emissions, including intermodal pre- and on-carriage by road. Bertschi will rely on hydrogen technology with fuel cells: green hydrogen (H2) generated with renewable energy sources enables the operation of trucks with zero CO2 emissions.
After a successful pilot launch, an in-house hydrogen fuelling station shall be installed at the Birrfeld (Switzerland) terminal, among others. The hydrogen will be generated through solar energy and hydropower electricity during surplus periods. Surplus electricity cannot be stored and must otherwise be ‘destroyed’. However, the energy from this electricity can be stored in hydrogen and reconverted back into electricity in the truck’s fuel cell to power the vehicle.
“So the first climate-neutral transport chains made by Bertschi could be a reality in the very near future. For consumer-focused customers, climate-neutral logistics is already an added-value proposition. And customers in the chemical industry are also increasingly focusing on climate targets for logistics,” said Jan Arnet.
Zero-emission means anticipating the future
Hans-Jörg Bertschi emphasizes that the speed of this development will depend to a large extent on the framework conditions set by politicians over the next few years: “We will not wait for politics, we are now already starting to anticipate the future. We believe that by doing so, we are not only doing something good for the climate and the environment, but also enhancing the company’s long-term opportunity for succeeding in rapidly changing markets.”