As all economic sectors, freight transport by rail and the Wiener Lokalbahnen Cargo (WLBCargo) are affected due the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous measures had to be taken to maintain operations and to secure supplies in the provinces, whilst protecting employees in the most diverse company divisions from infection in the best possible way.
The entire administration of the company is now operating in home office and, for the operations departments, WLBCargo has located one employee per department. Despite the adverse conditions, the railway service and the train drivers ensure that goods of all kinds arrive at their destination. All wagon inspections at the borders have been ordered to operate only in the country until further notice. If train drivers cannot be kept on schedule when they are stopping in another member state, WLBCargo tries to bring employees back home as soon as possible. This is currently one of the greatest challenges in regard of the closed borders and the consequent long traffic jams.
Unfortunately, the restrictions on the borders in all neighboring countries in Austria cause severe disruptions in the transport flow. For example, when sending back train drivers to their trains, WLBCargo experienced difficult challenges due to enormous restrictions on the road as well as on the railway, adding on costs and other expenses.
Furthermore, the economic situation is also causing problems, as the WLB Cargo runs high-frequency shuttle services across different member states. It became increasingly difficult to operate these services, leading to both a cost factor and a problem in the continuous transport chain.
In several federal states, meetings are already being held with state governments and the responsible transport state councils, as the logistics industry is coming under increasing pressure.