UPM establishes sustainable wood delivery option for its Leuna biorefinery

14 March 2024

UPM Biochemicals has reached another important milestone in the development of the world’s first biorefinery in Leuna, Germany. In partnership with DB Cargo, the first deliveries of wood have now been made to Leuna by rail, establishing and testing the direct rail link to the Leuna operations’ wood yard.

This will enable UPM to transport wood sustainably and to strengthen local supply chains, increasing the security of supply with critical raw materials. DB Cargo, specialists in the sustainable and climate-friendlier transport of goods, is a long-standing partner for timber transportation in the rail sector and has been handling UPM’s paper and pulp freight for several years.

UPM is investing €1,180M to build the world’s first industrial scale biorefinery in Leuna that will convert sustainably sourced, certified hardwood into next generation biochemicals – enabling the vital shift away from fossil-based to renewable materials across a wide range of industries. The Leuna biorefinery is part of a broader growth area, UPM Biorefining, that is scaling refineries to produce a variety of renewable fuels and chemicals made from sustainable biomass.


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“We are excited to welcome the first rail-based wood transports at our newly established wood yard in Leuna,” said Andreas Meggendorfer, Director Supply Chain & Sourcing at UPM Biochemicals. “We will offer fully sustainable renewable chemicals with a significantly better CO2 footprint compared to fossil alternatives. It is paramount that we work on strategies to continuously optimise the environmental performance of our products further. Using rail as a transport mode does exactly that. And by partnering with DB Cargo, we can now rely on a well-known and capable rail logistics partner and have built a resilient and sustainable wood logistics setup for our biorefinery in Leuna.”

“UPM and DB Cargo have been linked by a successful partnership for rail-based inbound logistics of timber for many years. We are therefore very pleased to now be an important supply chain partner for UPM at the new biorefinery in Leuna”, said Thorsten Wartenpfuhl, SVP Sales Consumer Goods, Pulp & Paper, Timber at DB Cargo.

It is worth mentioning, that wood handling and processing activities have started as part of the commissioning and start-up work for the biorefinery. The first wood chips made of wood from sustainably managed regional forests have been produced, confirming the overall progress made on-site.

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