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The Mixed Train

The Mixed Train from DB Cargo offers a transport solution that benefits all customers.

Every customer is unique, each with their own different needs. DB Cargo understands this and attaches great importance to actively connecting with its clients and developing tailor-made solutions. The value for both sides of this close communication is demonstrated by the Mixed Train: a block train consisting of 27 wagons, which leaves the port of Andernach with a fast overnight service. The train is loaded with 2,000 gross tonnes split between 17 container wagons and ten conventional freight wagons. Its destination is the seaport of Antwerp, 319 kilometres away by rail, from where the train can also run a fast overnight service back to Andernach: "This is no normal freight train, but a mixed train carrying wagon-sets for various customers and industries," says Andrea Clasen-De Cunto, who heads the Accounts West Team in Intermodal Sales. Clasen-De Cunto is responsible for organising and selling intermodal block train services. Together with her colleague Peter Lohr from Industrial Sales, she developed and successfully implemented the Mixed Train product solution. Mixed trains consolidate flows of goods from various industries along corridor routes. This means that intermodal consignments such as containers or swap bodies are brought together with consignments from all the other industries in the DB Cargo portfolio. "These can include all sorts of goods, such as steel, wood and cars," says Lohr.

Close customer relationship as basis for Mixed Train concept

The flexible transport solution grew out of direct communication with customers. "A customer asked us whether we could combine intermodal consignments with conventional consignments on the Antwerp – Andernach route," explains Clasen-De Cunto. Based on this enquiry, DB Cargo developed a solution and put it straight into practice. Goods from two customers were loaded at various points along the route between Germany and Belgium. These complemented each other well, and the fixed volume of cargo enabled reliable planning. The principle of customer cooperation – or crowdsourced innovation – has more than paid off for both clients. "A project like this depends on close communication and, when necessary, connecting customers with each other," says Clasen-De Cunto.