Logistics and Transport

GRI 203-1, GRI 305-3

We constantly strive to improve our processes in order to optimize logistics chains and minimize shipment journeys or avoid unnecessary ones. Our Logistics department uses a simulation system to help us analyze the flow of goods. We can use this system to calculate emissions and determine the potential for optimizing transport routes and vehicle capacity utilization. We use electronic systems to organize in-plant transportation such that routes are short and wasted empty space is avoided.

To monitor our journeys, we also follow the (PDF:) “guidelines for determining the carbon dioxide emissions associated with logistics operations” (German-language version only) issued by the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI). As well as checking carbon dioxide levels, we monitor noise emissions from the vehicles we use for our shipments.

For the optimization of its logistics processes, Wacker Chemie AG received the VCI’s Responsible Care® Award 2015. Among other things, the jury acknowledged that we have reduced the number of empty containers transported since 2011 by 20 percent.

At its production sites, WACKER processes raw materials from all over the world. We have developed a strategy for our supply chains that allows us to coordinate capacities for raw-material deliveries and exports, and to avoid empty space in containers. In addition, in our collaboration with shipping companies, our tendering for overseas imports and exports run in parallel. This allows us to assign containers for our raw-material deliveries that belong to the same shipping-company portfolio that we use for exports. The raw materials enter our train system in Hamburg; after the journey, the containers are unloaded at our sites and then loaded again directly for export. Transport of intermediates between our sites follows the same concept.

(PDF:) “Guidance for Accounting & Reporting Corporate GHG Emissions in the Chemical Sector Value Chain” estimates the emissions from downstream transportation processes and goods distribution as low compared to other Scope 3 categories. WACKER uses a refined computational model for calculating all the transportation processes of the products from the sites to the customer. It is based on factors from “(PDF:) Cefic-ECTA Guidelines for Measuring and Managing CO2 Emissions from Freight Transport Operations.” The exported quantities rose in the reporting period, indicating that the transfer of transportation from road to rail has led to a reduction in transport-related emissions.

Emissions from Transportation Processes (in Metric Tons of CO2) of WACKER Products to the Customer

Emissions from Transportation Processes (in Metric Tons of CO2) of Wacker Products to the Customer (bar chart)

Logistics Hub

Wherever possible, we are switching from road to rail transport. Today, the majority of the freight containers leaving our German sites are transported by rail to North Sea ports, in particular. WACKER’s 600-meter-long container train travels every day from Burghausen or Nünchritz to the ports in Bremerhaven and Hamburg. In Burghausen, we now transport more than 95 percent of container shipments by rail.

Shipping volumes rose year over year in both 2015 and 2016. The Group’s largest logistics hub, Burghausen, increased its shipping volume by about 3 percent to around 825,000 metric tons (2015: 800,000 metric tons). There was a slight rise in the number of both truck loads and overseas containers – to 43,000 (2015: 40,700) and 14,400 (2015: 14,000), respectively.

Transport Volumes for the Burghausen Logistics Hub

Transport Volumes for the Burghausen Logistics Hub (graphic)

The combined road and rail terminal in Burghausen, open to public use, has significantly increased the number of goods transshipments and transport connections. Besides additional trains to the northern ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven, new connections to Cologne and Trieste have been introduced, helping us to shift more traffic from road to rail. The freight containers are loaded directly onto a container train ex works. This eliminates some 30,000 shipments by road and reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 2,500 metric tons per year.

From our Nünchritz site, some 6,000 containers are transported to German seaports by rail and inland waterways from Riesa every year. When we procure raw materials, they are primarily transported by rail, too. Over shorter distances, however, truck transport is still more cost-effective and thus indispensable. Thanks to the new nitrogen plant at the Nünchritz site, we have been able to cover our inert gas demand on site since 2016. We can thus relieve road traffic by an annual 400 truck transports.

At our new production site in Charleston, Tennessee (USA), we have developed and installed logistics processes required for start-up and production. At the Zhangjiagang site, a new logistics storage and distribution center started operation in September 2015 in order to more efficiently process higher volumes of raw materials and downstream products and to serve customers more quickly.

Reducing Shipment Routes

In integrated production, we transport products and byproducts from one plant to neighboring facilities by pipeline. For large quantities, the transport of products by pipeline is cost-effective, safe and -free. , one of our most important raw materials, is piped to our Burghausen site from the adjacent OMV Deutschland site. The Ethylene-Pipeline South (EPS) (German-language version only) helps us to ensure the long-term availability of this key raw material. In the 370-km long pipeline, which runs west from Münchsmünster in Bavaria across Baden-Württemberg to Ludwigshafen in Rhineland-Palatinate, the raw material is transported without emissions and at very low energy costs.

Our Nünchritz plant obtains cartridges for from a packaging manufacturer in nearby Grossenhain. Burghausen obtains reusable IBCs (intermediate bulk containers) and drums from suppliers. We are increasingly replacing 220-liter drums for shipping silicone fluids and emulsions with 1,000-liter IBCs. WACKER fills over 140,000 of these containers annually, which it obtains from a supplier a short distance away. This supplier recycles some 20 percent as reco containers (rebottled) for reuse.

Short distances to service providers and maximum avoidance of empty space in the containers help to minimize emissions and waste. We are implementing similar measures at our sites in China, Japan and the USA. As an alternative to tank containers and IBCs, we also use flexitanks to transport liquids to Brazil, China, India and the Middle East, for example. WACKER mounts the flexitanks in containers in such a way that, once the flexitank has been emptied, the container can be used for another cargo straight away, without having to be cleaned first.

Piston tanks are an environmentally sound alternative to transport drums for viscous products such as our silicone sealants. A moving internal piston pushes 25 metric tons of silicone sealant – equivalent to 125 steel drums – into the tank semitrailer during loading. Customers can connect the tank directly to their filling equipment and the piston pushes the product out of the tank. Several thousand metric tons of silicone sealant currently leave our Burghausen site in this way. WACKER’s sites outside Germany, too, procure mainly from regional suppliers to shorten transport distances.

We exchange electronic data with our shipping agents so that they can plan their trips as efficiently as possible and ensure their vehicles are always fully loaded. Our strategy of focusing on regional shipping agents helps avoid empty runs. It enables the agents responsible for a particular postal code area to plan return journeys in their region so that trucks are almost never partially laden. Our annual assessment of shipping agents extends to their environmental performance. For example, we ask how their vehicles are rated in European emission standards (such as the Euro 5 exhaust emission standard). The number of Euro 5 and higher category vehicles used by our logistics providers has increased from just under 8 percent in 2006 to over 83 percent in 2016; the number of vehicles in the Euro 6 category is now greater than 30 percent.

Climate-Neutral Transport

With the GoGreen certificate, our logistics service provider Deutsche Post DHL certifies the offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the transport of our parcels. The greenhouse gas emissions specified on the certificate of (PDF:) 2.91 metric tons CO2e in 2016 include emissions from transport and logistics, as well as upstream emissions from fuel and energy generation ((PDF:) 2015: 3.35 t CO2e). CO2 equivalents (CO2e) include carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Deutsche Post DHL’s carbon management is offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions generated during transport in the period under review through investments in global climate-protection projects. The SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance) has verified the calculated greenhouse gas emissions and their compensation in accordance with carbon management systems and the – Product Lifecycle Accounting and Reporting Standard.”

Transport Routes to ChemDelta Bavaria

In the ChemDelta Bavaria area, one of the major infrastructure projects is the electrification of the rail route to Munich and its expansion to two tracks. This project is making good progress. Previously, the rail line to Burghausen had been in the same condition as in 1897, with the exception of a few enhancements over recent years. One bottleneck was the section between Altmühldorf and Tüßling, where three rail lines meet; around 1% of German freight traffic passes through here. This bottleneck was removed in May 2017.

We actively support the “Ja zur A 94 e.V.” (Yes to A 94; German-language version only) association to push the expansion of the A 94 Munich to Passau autobahn together with other ChemDelta Bavaria companies. The call for bids as part of a PPP (public-private partnership) project – which is securing the funding for the stretches from Pastetten to Dorfen and Dorfen to Heldenstein – resulted in the awarding of the contract to Isentalautobahn GmbH & Co. KG (German-language version only) in 2015. A continuous autobahn from Munich to Marktl is to become a reality by fall 2019. This will not only improve the transport infrastructure of ChemDelta Bavaria, but also relieve congestion in villages and towns along the B12 highway and thus reduce the risk of accidents on this stretch of road.

We are involved in the “Magistrale für Europa” (Major Rail Route for Europe) initiative, which has been committed to the expansion of the rail connection between Paris and Budapest under the slogan “from patchwork to network” for the past 20 years. The Munich – Mühldorf – Freilassing section is on this route.

Carbon Dioxide
Chemical name: CO2. This gas naturally constitutes 0.04% of air. Carbon dioxide is generated during the combustion of coal, natural gas and other organic substances. As a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, it contributes to global warming. Since the start of industrialization in 1850, its concentration in air has risen from approx. 300 to 390 ppm (parts per million). This value is increasing by around 2 ppm every year. Other greenhouse gases are represented as CO2 equivalents (CO2e) based on their greenhouse effect.
Substance outputs, noise, vibrations, light, heat or radiation emitted into the environment by an industrial plant.
A colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas that, under normal conditions, is lighter than air. It is needed as a chemical starting product for a great many synthetic materials, including polyethylene and polystyrene. It is used to make products for the household, agricultural and automotive sectors, among others.
General term used to describe compounds of organic molecules and silicon. According to their areas of application, silicones can be classified as fluids, resins or rubber grades. Silicones are characterized by a myriad of outstanding properties. Typical areas of application include construction, the electrical and electronics industries, shipping and transportation, textiles and paper coatings.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol
The GHG Protocol is an internationally recognized instrument for quantifying and controlling greenhouse gas emissions. The standards outlined in the GHG Protocol have been jointly developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) since 1998. The GHG Protocol specifies how an organization should calculate its greenhouse gas emissions and how emission-reducing programs should be conducted.