Logistics strategy pays off: Covestro chooses DB Cargo BTT

A goods train with tank containers passes by.

Logistics strategy pays off: Covestro chooses DB Cargo BTT

Covestro pleased with distribution centre in Poland.

Transporting and storing chemicals is one of the most demanding tasks in logistics. The industry's rules and safety regulations regarding the selection of suitable logistics partners for handling dangerous goods are correspondingly strict. When chemicals group Covestro was looking for a logistics company to handle the transport and distribution of important chemicals to and within Poland, it found what it was looking for in DB Cargo BTT. 

Wanted: full-service logistics provider for dangerous goods

Covestro needed a logistics provider to transport various chemicals from Germany to Poland, store them in a suitable warehouse there, and transport them to Covestro's customers, i.e. a full-service logistics package. The warehouse, or distribution centre, assumed a key role in these activities, because customers usually request products at short notice and prompt, flexible delivery is often impossible without regionally available inventory. In recent years this was a major challenge for Covestro, which aimed to improve customer satisfaction with a distribution centre.

High safety standards? No problem for DB Cargo BTT

So the assignment was to find a warehouse in a suitable location that also met Covestro's high safety requirements, which include fire alarm systems, heating for the tank containers, and of course relevant dangerous goods expertise among the employees on site. DB Cargo BTT found what it needed in western Poland and was able to recruit an existing service provider with enough storage capacity for the joint distribution plan. Covestro was satisfied by the overall strategy and after certification in February 2023, the first tank containers of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) rolled into Poland. "From planning to implementation, we were able to rely on very good cooperation between Covestro and various departments at DB Cargo BTT," said Christian Koett, Senior Account Manager Intermodal Transport at DB Cargo BTT, who has been involved in the project since its initial planning.

Tank containers are stored in a distribution centre in western Poland.
Well utilised: Tank containers with MDI are stored in the distribution centre

How does it work?

The tank containers are transported by rail to a transhipment terminal, where they are loaded onto lorries. They are then transported by road, either to the distribution centre or directly to the receiving customer. If the warehouse is the destination, up to 100 spaces are available there to store tank containers with MDI and, in future, toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and polyol, until they are ordered and delivered by lorry. DB Cargo BTT guarantees delivery within 24 hours, ensuring that both Covestro and its customers are satisfied.

More about transporting MDI

The chemical methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) is a dangerous good used in various everyday items such as dashboards, steering wheels, mattresses and insulation materials. Its sensitivity to temperature poses a logistical challenge; the temperature of MDI must not fall below 15 degrees Celsius during transport and storage. Sensors on tank containers monitor the temperature of the contents continuously. If necessary, the contents can be heated in the warehouse.

DB Cargo BTT: a solution for every challenge

DB Cargo BTT now transports many tonnes of MDI to the distribution centre every month, with TDI and polyol soon to follow. DB Cargo BTT is planning a second warehouse with its local partner to provide even more storage capacity in the future. "If the plan is approved, we expect to double our capacity starting in mid-2024 – right next to the existing distribution centre," said Koett. "This shows how flexible we can be in working with dangerous goods and providing customised solutions for the entire sector throughout Europe, including warehousing and onward carriage – a true USP."

Get in touch with our expert.

Christian Koett

Senior Account Manager Intermodale Transporte, DB Cargo BTT