How to reduce fine dust in the air from steel transport by train?

The stakeholders celebrating their partnership. 2022, Deutsche Bahn AG / Volker Emersleben

How can steel transportation be done more sustainably? One step that helps to reduce the footprint of this supply chain is right at the start, with a new unloading system that minimises the formation of fine dust. This new system was developed by DB Cargo and steel and mining group ArcelorMittal.

Together with Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing and State Secretary Hendrik Fischer from the Brandenburg state government, Sigrid Nikutta, DB Board Member for Freight Transport and Reiner Blaschek, CEO of ArcelorMittal Germany, presented the new logistics system in the Eisenhüttenstadt steelworks (Brandenburg). They labelled it a logistics system as it not only involves a new unloading process, but also innovative freight wagons and light, removable containers.

From loading to wagons and containers

Let us start with the unloading system, which was developed by the Austrian manufacturer Innofreight. This is partially automated, and protects the environment against fine dust and emissions. The materials used in steel production, such as ore, coke and limestone, can be handled with almost no dust formation. In the future, “green sponge iron”, a precursor for climate-neutral steel production, will also be transported this way, explains DB Cargo.

At the same time, lighter wagons and special containers increase the efficiency of the freight trains that transport the steel. The new equipment optimises the loading volume and increases the payload per train by up to 20 per cent. Fewer freight trains have to run for the same transport volume. More than 90 per cent of the required raw materials can be delivered in such a climate-friendly way, DB’s freight division explains.

Big role to play for manufacturer

ArcelorMittal is planning further investments in Eisenhüttenstadt: two electric arc furnaces are to be built that will produce crude steel based on recycling scrap and sponge iron made with green hydrogen. The sponge iron is initially to be transported by rail from a plant planned at ArcelorMittal in Bremen to the unloading facilities in Eisenhüttenstadt.

Volker Wissing, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure commented: “In order to achieve our emission targets, the industry must organise all of its processes in a climate-neutral manner.

“One thing is clear: without environmentally friendly transport and a strong rail network, there can be no climate-neutral industry. The producers of such energy-intensive raw materials as steel have a special role to play, because they are required for many everyday products. It is imperative that companies continue to push ahead with their clean manufacturing transformation plans despite the energy crisis. From a political point of view, we are doing everything we can to support this path.”

This piece was first published on

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

1 comment op “How to reduce fine dust in the air from steel transport by train?”

bönström bönström|31.10.22|22:50

Even worse, as neither redundant, nor resilent – and not robust…, currently railways may not claim the sustainable alternative!
At current traffic and speeds, regrettably the allowed 22,5 ton load, etc., no longer is allowed – by system…
Accordingly, “maintenance”, new speech for repairing…, now has turned too costly, thus the track charge has to remain high, etc., etc.
(All other modes by air, sea, etc., upgrade for added load capacity – and reduced costs. So the railways, now has to!)

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