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Rhenus Weserport builds its first rail loading facility

Rhenus Weserport builds its first rail loading facility

(Posted on 12/01/24)

For more than 25 years, Rhenus Weserport Bremen has stood for expert and professional transshipment of various goods and materials. As a member of the Rhenus Group, the port agency has previously focused on transferring cargo from seagoing vessels onto trucks and inland waterway vessels. But for its recently forged partnership with Nabaltec AG, Rhenus Weserport is now substantially extending its existing railway line. The rail loading facility in Germany's southernmost seaport will be used for the shipment of imported aluminium hydroxide and aluminium oxide.

Nabaltec AG supplies growing markets all over the world with eco-friendly flame retardant fillers and specialty alumina. Due to high energy costs, and given the trend towards de-industrialization, which is expected in Germany as a result, the company is looking to expand its ability to purchase aluminum hydroxide and aluminium oxide, two materials which are of vital importance for its product portfolio, from smelters in Europe, in Brazil and – depending on cost and quality – all over the world.

The materials are shipped to Germany by sea, as German ports offer cost advantages for Nabaltec over Dutch and Belgian ports and storage of the materials in Bremen ensures a reliable supply.

"The decision to route the aluminium hydroxide and aluminium oxide through Rhenus Weserport was made because of its existing railway line, which is perfectly suited for a project-based extension. Other crucial factors included the direct link to oceangoing traffic and the existing loading and storage facilities. The materials are shipped by rail from Bremen right to us in Bavaria. We expect to see cost benefits due to the extension of our supplier portfolio, which will allow us to continue offering our products on a competitive basis," explains Johannes Heckmann, the CEO of Nabaltec AG.

Aluminium hydroxide is a flame retardant and a key component in plastic cables and other metallic conductors. Aluminium oxide is used in the production of technical ceramics and in the refractory and polishing industries.

Rhenus Weserport has already started shipping goods for Nabaltec. By extending its facilities for the shipment of cargo by rail, the port services provider is positioning itself for the future: "This new area of business is an important development for us. Our first rail loading facility will allow us to unlock new markets and potential relationships," explains Rudolf Egbert, Managing Director of Rhenus Weserport. "This creates new opportunities for us, particularly in a time when Germany is de-industrializing."

Until the new fully automated rail loading system in Terminal 4 is completed, Nabaltec is temporarily using Terminal 2, in Bremen's industrial harbour, for the shipment of aluminium hydroxide. The licensing procedure for the alterations to Terminal 4, as well as the construction process, are fully underway. The new system is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2024. With the extensions to the terminal and the automated rail loading system, Nabaltec will be able to meet its target of shipping 70,000 to 140,000 tons of aluminium hydroxide and aluminium oxide per year.

The contractual agreement between Rhenus Weserport and Nabaltec has been concluded for a term of 10 years, with an option to extend the term of the agreement.

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