Schienengüterverkehr - eine realistische Alternative für Post-Transporte?

Translated title of the contribution: Rail freight transport - a realistic alternative for postal transport?

Erich Josef Johann Kramer

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


The purpose of this study was to fundamentally analyse the conditions under which rail freight transport is an alternative to today's dominant road freight transport for a postal company. On the basis of findings from a literature review, a study was carried out in co-operation with Österreichische Post AG, which was able to show the possibilities and limits of such a shift of postal consignments. The framework conditions for rail freight transport are basically favourable, as Austria ranks third in Europe in terms of transported volume per inhabitant. The Austrian state invests the fourth most in Europe to provide an appropriate infrastructure for this transport volume. Österreichische Post AG is also keenly interested, as it wants to achieve a net-zero target by 2040. To achieve this, a comprehensive solution for long-distance transport in the main mail run still needs to be found. In order to make rail freight transport competitive in general, the following factors have been recognised as essential: High transport volume (at least 2 containers), long transport distance (>300 km), long-term plannable transport, relatively long transport time (at least 1 day) and proximity to freight terminals. Many of these requirements could be met in the project with Austrian Post. For historical reasons, the majority of the logistics centres are located in the immediate vicinity of freight stations, the daily transport volumes could fill several trains and the transports take place at the same time every day. However, the transport distances are relatively short for national rail freight transport, even on the west-east axis, which makes it difficult to realise a cost advantage over road freight transport. On the basis of an offer from RailCargo Austria, a break-even point for lorry transport of 879 km was calculated. Since Austrian Post owns several subsidiaries in the south, this scenario was also evaluated, but the necessary shipment volume (< 1 WAB) is lacking on these routes. An increase in transport costs of xx% could be accepted in exchange for a reduction in emissions of 80%, but none of the seven concrete implementation scenarios selected could fully fulfil the requirements for the transit time of the postal products. The main problem is that high-volume products (parcel E+1) have a maximum delivery time of one day after posting. For products with a longer transit time (3-5 days), there is not enough volume to utilise the capacity of a dedicated train, which means that we have to rely on fixed-time routes in single wagonload traffic. These transport times, which are usually at night, do not fit in very well with the process times or existing time sequences of Swiss Post, which can result in up to 15 hours of downtime and scenarios can only be fulfilled on a daily basis. A parallel process for rail transport to the existing process for individual days is ruled out by Swiss Post. Another problem with single wagonload transport is the availability of routes. Implementation-relevant differences to countries with active mail transport by rail are as follows: -Priority of mail trains - enables transport during passenger transport times (Switzerland) -Freight terminal integrated in the logistics centre - flexible loading/unloading of internal postal wagons (Switzerland) -Long transport routes - made possible by international transports or connections of axes in large countries (Norway, France, Netherlands, Denmark) -Additional utilisation of own postal trains as a freight forwarder (Switzerland) -Combination with passenger transport - only possible for express shipments that can be unloaded at regular railway stations (France) Under current conditions, an Austrian postal company can only implement or pilot rail transport at great expense and entrepreneurial risk, which is why there will be no change to the transport strat
Translated title of the contributionRail freight transport - a realistic alternative for postal transport?
Original languageGerman
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Zsifkovits, Helmut, Supervisor (internal)
Award date28 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

no embargo


  • Rail freight transport
  • Postal company
  • Road-rail modal shift
  • Case study
  • Conditions for a road-rail modal shift

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