Barilla’s sustainable exports to Germany travel by train

Parma / IT. (bg) Pasta and sauces transferred from road to rail to continue reducing their environmental impact in keeping with the «Good for You, Good for the Planet» mission. Thanks to an exclusive agreement with the operator GTS, a European intermodal transport operator, Italy’s Barilla Group has given the go-ahead to a new form of sustainable transport for its food products traveling from Italy to Germany. Since March this year, the 70 percent of Parma-based Group’s products destined for Germany – about 100,000 tons each year including pasta, sauces and pesto – have been travelling by rail rather than road, using the innovative railway line connecting the Parma freight terminal with ULM in Baden-Württemberg. From there, they travel just a few kilometers to the Langenau warehouse, thus allowing significant savings to be achieved in terms of environmental impact, as well as improved organizational efficiency.

Lower CO2 emissions, greater road safety and organizational efficiency

A dedicated service with 3 trains a week currently connecting Parma with ULM in southern Germany will reduce CO2 emissions by an average of 70 percent a year (equal to a reduction of 6,000 tons of CO2) compared to road transport, and remove some 5,000 trucks from the road, ensuring greater road safety and avoiding snarl-ups and queues at the borders. In addition to increasing environmental sustainability, this improves organizational efficiency by guaranteeing a better flow of deliveries – with 99 percent punctuality – and cuts estimated costs by around 5 percent compared to road transport.

«This is a distinctive project which, given the volumes transported and the type of service, created specifically for the needs of the company, is unique in Europe», says Gianluigi Mason, Barilla Group’s Logistics Manager for Italy. «We want this initiative to set an example for a new development of intermodal logistics with a strong environmental connotation that can conquer sectors traditionally dominated by road transport and that we also want to expand to other routes. We are convinced that this new method will allow us to reduce the environmental impact of our logistics activities, in line with our «Good for You, Good for the Planet» purpose.

«Environmental sustainability, which the Barilla Group has spearheaded for many years, covers the whole supply chain, including logistics», says Bastian Diegel, Customer Service + Demand Planning Senior Manager Central Europe Barilla Germany. «The intermodal transport project between Northern Italy and Southern Germany was really challenging, particularly as the section that connects Parma with Langenau, just 560 kilometers long, is usually the prerogative of road transport. We are truly satisfied with the results achieved by this new mode of transport in terms of reducing emissions and ensuring punctual deliveries.»

«Being chosen by Barilla for this innovative project has been a source of great pride for us, particularly because our sustainability values perfectly match those of our client», says GTS CEO Alessio Muciaccia. «As part of the logistics chain, the train can now guarantee efficiency, economy but above all an almost zero environmental impact»

Every train carries an average of 600 tones of pasta, sauces and pesto

The project was launched in March 2020, starting with 2 trains a week connecting Italy with Germany. At the end of June this was increased to 3 trains a week and in future 4 trains a week could run between the Parma freight terminal and ULM. Each train – consisting of 16 carriages carrying 32 containers – transports an average of 600 tons of Barilla food products, mostly pasta, 490 tons, followed by sauces, 60 tons, and pesto, 50 tons: a real triumph for Made in Italy food products.

Parma – Ulm train project comes third at the German logistic awards

Barilla’s commitment on the environmental front in Germany was also celebrated on 21 October, in Berlin, during the ceremony for the presentation of the German Logistic Awards. Thanks to its «From road to rail: Sustainability as a holistic concept» project, the Parma Group was ranked third among the best initiatives in the field of environmental and logistical sustainability, further demonstrating the value of this new form of intermodal transport, as recognized by experts.

German market strategic for the Group

Germany is a strategic market for the Barilla Group, which is a leader there, both in the pasta market, with a share of 22 percent, and in the sauce and pesto market, with a share of 39 percent. It is also worth noting how the demand for Barilla pasta and sauces in Germany increased considerably during the lockdown, by 50 percent during the first month and by an average of 10 percent in the subsequent months. Despite the Covid-19 emergency, the train carrying Barilla products remained fully operational and continued to run like clockwork, with no delays in deliveries.

Wheat trains in Italy

In Italy too, the Barilla Group has been at the forefront of rail transport and has been running projects for many years to transport wheat as a raw material. Suffice to say that in 2019 Barilla transported over 100,000 tons of durum and soft wheat by train, generating 70 percent less CO2 emissions than road transport. One example is the wheat train from Ravenna to Parma, inaugurated in 2015, which carries durum wheat directly into the Pedrignano plant.