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06-05-2015

ICL Iberia together with the Fundació CTM will lead a European consortium for improving and optimizing rail logistic processes for conveying bulk goods


This joint work is framed within the research and development project Hermes, which has the aim of improving rail logistics for bulk goods between the Bages region and Barcelona harbor and between Catalonia and Europe.

The total budget is of 7 M Euros over a period of three years. Companies, research centers and universities in Catalonia, France, Sweden and Denmark are involved in the project.


The Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic and the company ICL Iberia will unite efforts and technology to manufacture a new lighter freight wagon with greater capacity and appropriately designed for the European rail network given that it contemplates the continental track width.

The research and development project Hermes, subsidized by the EU, will enable the design of a new freight wagon with a greater capacity for transporting goods without increasing the weight, or even making it lighter. This way it would be possible to transport more tons between Súria/Sallent and Barcelona harbor at a lower logistic cost, promoting the inter-modality and flexibility of the different loads.

Hermes can rely on a global investment of 7 million Euros that will be distributed throughout the three years of research, which started on May 1st with the signing of the collaboration agreement with the European Union. Yesterday, Tuesday, the first project meeting took place at the headquarters of Kiruna Wagon, in Sweden and more than 20 technicians and researchers were present.

According to the manager of Innovation and Development of ICL Iberia, Dr Ingrid Picas, “it is a three year project that will involve the improvement and increase of rail transportation in the region of Bages. At the same time, the new wagons will enable a more efficient railway transportation of maximum quality products, such as vacuum salt, which we will start producing at Súria”.

On another note, according to the manager of the Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic Materials Technology area, Daniel Casellas, “the project will make it possible to develop and implement materials technology and numerical simulation advanced solutions, so as to obtain lighter wagons with better efficiency and high inter-modality. Thus we will be able to face the challenges posed by railway transportation of granular materials”.

The project Hermes expects the new wagon to be able to travel on the European rail track width. The studies will be based on this width, thus facilitating the Access of the Bages region to the Mediterranean Corridor. In the meantime, the access will also be possible through the current metric width. The project also includes new facilities for product loading and unloading in such a way that the transportation of much larger loads is optimized. There will be a noticeable improvement in the transportation of bulk goods and an increase of competitiveness and efficiency of railway logistics between Catalonia and Europe. The research work has had a direct boost from the Bages region thanks to the collaboration established in recent years in the field of research between the Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic and the Company ICL Iberia Súria&Sallent. The improved competitiveness and efficiency of railway logistics that will be achieved will make it possible to acquire a privileged position as opposed to truck transportation. ICL Iberia Súria&Sallent is involved in the project together with the Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic de Manresa (CTM), two European universities (Lulea Tekniska in Sweden and Armines, in France), as well as the company Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat, Kiruna Wagon, Hempel, IDP and SSAB Tunnplaet (in Denmark, Sweden and Spain).

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