Logistics and Transport

­We constantly strive to improve our processes in order to optimize logistics chains and minimize shipment journeys or avoid unnecessary ones. Our Logistics department continuously analyzes the potential for optimizing transport routes and container/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” (available in German only) issued by the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI). As well as checking levels, we monitor noise emissions from the vehicles we use for our shipments. (Details of CO2 emissions due to shipments of WACKER products to our customers can be found in the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Table under Scope 3 emissions in Category 9: Downstream transportation and distribution.) 

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.

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 transport almost 100 percent of container shipments by rail.

Globally, WACKER shipped a total of 2.3 million metric tons of finished and semi-finished products in 2018 (2017: 2.2 million metric tons). Burg­hausen, the Group’s largest logistics hub, increased its shipping volume in 2018 to around 920,000 metric tons (2017: 894,000 metric tons). Shipments totaled 45,000 truckloads and 16,000 overseas containers.

Our carbon footprint report contains details on our transport-related emissions.

Transport Volumes for the Burghausen Logistics Hub

Transport Volumes for the Burghausen Logistics Hub (graphic)

We employ digital systems to support the increasing worldwide networking of supply flows. Thanks to these logistical tracking systems, we are increasingly able to track our shipments in real time worldwide and to respond promptly to any problems.

At the combined road and rail terminal in Burghausen (“KTB”; website available in German only), open to public use, the number of goods transshipments and transport connections has risen continuously. We ship metal and other raw materials to the plants, and products to the ports by rail. Every day, these container trains connect the Burghausen and Nünchritz plants with the ports in Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven. They also run between Trieste (Italy) and Burghausen twice a week. Our freight containers are loaded directly onto container trains ex works. This eliminates some 42,000 shipments by road, which reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 3,500 metric tons per year.

Transport Volumes for the Burghausen Logistics Hub

Transport Volumes for the Burghausen Logistics Hub (graphic)

From our Nünchritz site, we transport some 7,500 containers carrying products to German seaports by rail and inland waterways from Riesa every year. When we procure raw materials, they are primarily transported by rail, either in containers or tank cars. Where possible, we use emptied, cleaned raw-materials containers for product shipments. We thus avoid some 1,100 return transports of empty raw-materials containers every year and the same number of delivered empty containers for product shipments.

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; website available in German only) helps us to ensure the long-term availability of this key raw material. The 370-km pipeline, which runs west from Münchsmünster in Bavaria across Baden-Württemberg to Ludwigshafen in Rhineland-Palatinate, transports the raw material 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 using 1,000-liter IBCs for shipping silicone fluids and emulsions. WACKER fills over 160,000 of these containers annually, which it obtains from a supplier a short distance away. This supplier recycles some 16 percent of these cleaned containers 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.

The tank containers we use are made from a composite material that has a lower dead load. As a result, we can transport more freight without increasing the maximum weight. This also helps us to transport larger quantities in fewer shipments.

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 65 percent in 2018; the number of vehicles in the Euro 6 category is now greater than 45 percent. 

Transport Routes to ChemDelta Bavaria

One of the major infrastructure projects in the ChemDelta Bavaria region 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 percent of German freight traffic passes through here. This bottleneck was removed in May 2017. With the electrification of the Tüßling – Altötting – Burghausen section, the expansion of the entire Markt Schwaben – Mühldorf – Freilassing route is scheduled for completion in 2030.

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.

The expansion of the A 94 Munich to Passau autobahn made further progress in the period under review. A PPP (public-private partnership) project is funding the stretches from Pastetten to Dorfen and Dorfen to Heldenstein – these are scheduled to open in 2019.

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.
After oxygen, silicon is the most common element on the earth’s crust. In nature, it occurs without exception in the form of compounds, chiefly silicon dioxide and silicates. Silicon is obtained through energy-intensive reaction of quartz sand with carbon and is the most important raw material in the electronics industry.
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.