The EGGER Group's slogan is "more from wood". The family-owned company has been in business since 1961 and employs some 9,900 people. Its staff work at 19 locations around the world to produce a comprehensive range of products from wood-based materials (chipboard, OSB and MDF boards) and square-sawn timber. EGGER has customers worldwide in the furniture industry, the timber trade and DIY stores. Its products can be found in countless public and private spaces: in kitchens, bathrooms, offices, living rooms and bedrooms. The company sees itself as a full-range supplier for furniture and interior design, for structural timber construction and for wood flooring. EGGER is therefore among the firms offering the highest degrees of finishing and closest proximity to customers in the market segment for wood-based materials worldwide. It relies not just on raw materials and production expertise, but also on smooth-running transport logistics in procurement and delivery.
Logistics concepts for environmental protection
Alongside optimisation of production, EGGER sees environmentally friendly logistics concepts as another part of environmental protection. Wherever possible, the company connects its plants to the rail network, confident that choosing the right means of transport makes a valuable contribution to the environment. That's where rail comes into play: DB Cargo Logistics is one of the companies helping the international, family-owned business transport raw materials and deliver to customers.
Christian Witte heads the Wood Purchase Logistics & Projects department at the EGGER Group. Copyright: Egger
Block trains bring raw materials
"DB Cargo Logistics has worked in close partnership with EGGER for many years to bring products to our customers and raw materials to our plants, and to safeguard production through perfectly timed shipments between our sites," says Friedbert Mock, who has served for many years as senior account manager for EGGER at DB Cargo Logistics.
Deutsche Bahn has long transported logs across Europe to EGGER's various locations. Block trains, for example, collect raw materials for the wood products from countries like Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, and bring them to the plants in France, Romania and Austria. In this way, the rail logistics provider ensures that the supplies needed to produce wood-based boards are replenished. DB Cargo Logistics operates block trains and single wagons for EGGER on domestic German routes – for example to the plant in Wismar. EGGER's plant is conveniently located in the port of this town on the Baltic coast, and the company has been producing here since 1999.
Railports for transhipment and onward carriage
The town of Brilon in Germany's Hochsauerland region is a special example of the long-standing collaboration between EGGER and the logistics company: the plant has long been connected by rail to the transport hub of Hamm. Rail staff have dubbed this service the EGGER train. EGGER started making boards in Brilon for the furniture industry 30 years ago. The railway has been transporting the products to customers in the furniture industry and the timber trade since the beginning. DB supplies the plant with roundwood and delivers the finished products.
Customers often lack their own private sidings, however, so DB Cargo Logistics works with regional partners to offer transhipment and onward carriage via railports. While some boards are destined for customers in Germany, others are hauled to Denmark, Sweden or Norway. There, DB Cargo Logistics organises and manages a package of multimodal solutions with transhipment and onward carriage by lorry. In certain cases, freight wagons containing goods for up to four different recipients are also handed over in Brilon. The goods are then transhipped in Denmark, overseen by DB Cargo Logistics, before each consignment is delivered to the customer by lorry. In addition, DB Cargo Logistics also transports milled timber for export from the Hochsauerland region to the seaports, where transhipment takes place.
3,115 cubic metres of wood were processed for EGGER’s head quarters in St. Johann in Tyrol. Copyright: Egger
All aboard for the Atlantic
"We are constantly expanding our European service portfolio for the EGGER Group," says Mock. A logistics specialist, Mock brings every bit of his expertise to bear for these timber transports, from single wagonloads and block trains to multimodal transports and railport solutions throughout Europe. For example, EGGER manufactures chipboard in Rion-des-Landes, roughly 100 kilometres south of Bordeaux and surrounded by one of the largest forested areas in Europe. Cyclone Klaus ravaged this region in 2009 to the point that local wood supplies are currently unable to fully cover the needs of the regional timber industry. EGGER responded by buying roundwood in the French region of Grand Est, which, like wide swathes of central Europe, is now contending with heavy damage by bark beetles. In doing so, EGGER is not only helping the forest owners affected, but it is also ensuring that the wood finds a use that prevents the release of the carbon it contains.
DB Cargo Logistics has developed and introduced a domestic French supply concept for the site on the Atlantic coast: several groups of wagons are loaded simultaneously and later assembled to form a block train to Rion-des-Landes. At the same time, the logistics expert makes sure that load transfer yards are booked in eastern France and ensures operational coordination with the French shippers on site.
“Rail is essential for procuring timber across great distances.”
Christian Witte, Head of Logistics & Projects for Wood Purchasing, EGGER Group
Dialogue: the key to success
From EGGER's perspective, flexibility of services is just as crucial as reliability. Thanks to its large, Europe-wide network and the capacity it provides, DB can respond to the customer's seasonal or unforeseen needs. "There are peak periods when demand skyrockets, such as after big storms. At times like those we need to react flexibly and quickly for our customer," says Mock. "The truly collaborative relationship we have with EGGER, with each of us taking the other's needs into account, makes this easy." This collaboration is based on an ongoing dialogue between customer and service provider.
In 2019 alone, some 500 wagons of sawn timber left Brilon with DB Cargo Logistics to be dispatched. Copyright: Egger