This November, SLF Scherm Logistik und Facilitymanagement GmbH commissioned a new railport in Borken in central Germany. The company acquired the town's last plot of land with a siding for this purpose. Created in close cooperation with DB Cargo, this new transhipment facility offers both sustainability and a central location. In the hall measuring 8,000 square metres, the logistics specialist can handle almost all kinds of goods with protection from the weather. The cargo includes palletised freight, pasta from Italy and drinks from France, as well as sensitive or dangerous goods such as disinfectants, cosmetics and batteries. This is all thanks to the lowered siding at the heart of the railport that allows goods to be loaded at ground level. There, the goods are unloaded, stored, repacked and transported on to the recipient. Where customers require, SLF Scherm can also prepare goods in transit at the railport ready for their destination. It can assemble displays for special promotion items, which are subsequently set up at the point of sale. Overseas containers from Hamburg or Bremerhaven are also part of the portfolio. Containers are sent to and from Borken by rail, helping to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, SLF Scherm maintains a minimum stock level. Customers therefore do not experience any supply bottlenecks should a delivery fail to arrive.
From a logistics perspective, the railport is a sophisticated place. Sixteen wagons and ocean shipping containers can be unloaded or loaded daily in the hall either for environmentally friendly rail transport or for the last mile via HGV – and a further ten in the outdoor area. The key elements are the reach stackers that process the containers. A special forklift grabs containers from above and loads them directly from the railway onto the lorry – or vice versa. “We are very pleased to be able to make our six-year collaboration with SLF Scherm even greener,” says Kai Maass, Head of Regional Sales Germany at DB Cargo. “Together we will bring even more goods onto the environmentally friendly railways in the future.“
Crisis proof and environmentally friendly
For Swen Oesterheld, Managing Director of the Scherm Group, the pandemic has shown one thing: “Even if borders are closed, trains keep on running. Transport by rail is therefore not only environmentally friendly, but also crisis proof.” With the new railport, the company wants to position itself to withstand the pandemic and meet the challenges of climate protection. It is also a response to the driver shortage affecting countries well beyond Great Britain. In this way, the logistics service provider aims to shift more transports to rail in the future and reduce the distance of lorry transports to the destination. In 2020 alone, the company saved 1,000 tonnes of CO2 through its environmentally friendly logistics system together with DB Cargo. These savings are set to increase significantly in future. SLF Scherm hopes that the railport will save around 2,000 tonnes of CO2 in the future compared to transport by HGV.
At the same time, the Borken railport will relieve the motorways and thus help to reduce traffic jams. Restrictions due to driving and rest periods for drivers are also eliminated. Only the last mile of the transport is covered by lorry, in order to reach the recipient flexibly. “This is how we link road and rail in an environmentally friendly way,” says logistics manager Bernd Pfeifferling. Others in the region stand to benefit too, as even companies without their own siding can use the railport and take advantage of this modern, environmentally friendly logistics system.