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Kerakoll Group: “Fewer Trucks, More Cargo Trains”

Kerakoll

In the pursuit of sustainability and environmental responsibility, Kerakoll Group, a company specializing in sustainable building products and services, has implemented a groundbreaking logistics model. The Vice President of Kerakoll, Fabio Sghedoni, proudly shares the impressive results of their efforts, stating, “We have taken 13,600 trucks off the roads each year. With over six hundred active train convoys, we have managed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70%, benefiting the environment and enhancing road safety.” The company’s long-standing vision of “fewer trucks, more trains” has guided their logistical decisions, prioritizing environmental sustainability and road safety. Additionally, rail transportation has provided Kerakoll with increased flexibility, reliability, and improved service for their customers, leading them to embrace intermodality for future projects.

Kerakoll, founded by Romano Sghedoni and currently led by his son Fabio Sghedoni, has been operating in the Sassuolo ceramic district for 55 years. With a presence in 12 countries, from Brazil to India, Kerakoll boasts a workforce of over 2,400 employees worldwide. Their extensive range of building materials includes more than 80 product lines and over 6,100 references, generating a turnover of over 600 million euros, with 42% generated from international markets.

Fabio Sghedoni explains their journey, which began in 2007 with the initiation of an intermodal transportation project. This endeavor led to the establishment of two active railway routes for the movement of their raw materials. Through a partnership with Dinazzano Po, the company successfully reduced related CO2 emissions by 70%. With over 600 active trains, they have effectively eliminated approximately 13,600 trucks from the roads each year. Apart from the environmental benefits, this new transportation mode has alleviated the traffic burden on local communities, significantly enhanced road safety, and improved organizational efficiency throughout the entire production chain.

The logistics model employed by Kerakoll encompasses two key innovative elements. Firstly, it challenges the common belief that public-private partnerships are challenging to achieve. Sghedoni confirms the success of their operation, highlighting the co-design and implementation of rail terminals in collaboration with public and regional institutions, as well as railway authorities. Secondly, Kerakoll has implemented intermodality not only for long distances exceeding 300 km but also for shorter routes. Sghedoni emphasizes their unwavering belief in this approach, which has defied expectations and yielded tangible results.

The first route established by Kerakoll connects Minucciano (Lucca) to Dinazzano (Reggio Emilia), transporting calcium carbonate. This rail connection has replaced 7,400 trucks annually with 400 trains. The second route, Piacenza to Dinazzano, transports sand and commenced operations in 2020 with seven trains, currently totaling approximately 250 trains. In this case, Kerakoll has eliminated almost 6,200 truck journeys. The final route, dedicated to clay transportation, runs from the port of Ravenna to Dinazzano and was established in partnership with the Dinazzano Po company under the supervision of the Sapir Group from Ravenna. Kerakoll’s involvement in this route entailed consulting services for the initiation and management of road traffic in the ceramic district.

Sghedoni emphasizes that these sustainable transportation projects, enabling the movement of raw materials from their origin to their production facilities, were made possible through constructive collaboration between the public and private sectors. He further highlights the crucial financial support provided by the Emilia-Romagna region, which played a significant role in launching both the Minucciano and Piacenza projects.

Overall, Kerakoll’s logistics transformation aligns with their business strategy, which integrates profit with principles of social and environmental sustainability across all aspects of their operations. In 2021, the group solidified its commitment to these values by adopting the legal status of a Benefit Corporation. As the first major Italian construction group to do so, Kerakoll has pledged to create improved living and working environments, focusing on well-being, environmental preservation, and collaboration with like-minded partners in four areas of interest: product sustainability, process and strategic partnerships, people, and civic engagement. While quality, well-being, and environmental preservation have always been their guiding principles, being a Benefit Corporation now officially compels Kerakoll to pursue positive societal and environmental impacts alongside economic objectives, concludes Sghedoni.

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