Mega-trailers by rail
DB Cargo Logistics has developed an innovative CT product for Volkswagen
Working in partnership with Volkswagen Group Logistics, the Wolfsburg Plant Logistics team and the freight forwarder CS Cargo Slovakia a.s., DB Cargo Logistics has introduced cross-border rail transport operations for various suppliers to the Volkswagen plants.
The pilot project was a success. In these transport operations, the Volkswagen Group’s Crossdock (KCC) logistics centre in Malacky, near Bratislava, is used. Deliveries of supplies from south-eastern Europe are bundled there and transported onwards by HGV to the Volkswagen production sites.
DB Cargo worked with CS Cargo and Volkswagen Group Logistics to develop an alternative to road transport in long-distance operations to the Wolfsburg plant. Under the new concept, CS Cargo’s HGV tractor units pull the mega-trailers from Malacky to the Hungarian city of Győr, a journey of around one hour. In the DB terminal there, DB Cargo Hungária reloads the mega-trailers onto the rail company’s double-pocket wagons and feeds them into DB Cargo’s synchronised shuttle train service for Audi. The mega-trailers travel from Győr to Braunschweig, where DB Cargo tranships them at its own terminal. A reach-stacker unloads the trailers, which are then transported by a tractor unit to the unloading point at the Wolfsburg plant.
The process has now been tested over a reasonable period of time. “We would like to thank the Wolfsburg Plant Logistics team, Volkswagen Group Logistics and CS Cargo for the trust they have placed in us. The transport operations have clearly proved the advantages of rail over long distances,” says Gunnar Grahlmann, Key Account Manager at DB Cargo Logistics. “We have demonstrated within a very short period of time that DB Cargo can carry out a stable combined transport operation on the rail network for Volkswagen – with demanding but predictable transport times.”
Through its increased use of combined transport, Volkswagen is looking not only to achieve a more stable and reliable logistics process, but also to improve its environmental performance. The car company is also drawing overwhelmingly positive interim conclusions. Matthias Braun, Head of Planning Network and Site Projects notes: “The pilot has shown that rail can also come into play in the demanding KCC main legs. However, before we can turn the pilot into a regular process or expand it to other routes, it will be necessary to make significant changes to the supply process because production is currently set up for HGV, which is far more flexible. To achieve broad acceptance of combined transport you need economic viability and back-up systems that can be relied on when the regular process grinds to a halt.”
In September 2017, DB Cargo is planning to introduce CargoBeamer wagons, which have a special technology that allows them to transport non-cranable mega-trailers. The possibility of using the Wolfsburg Freight Transport Centre as an additional unloading option in the Wolfsburg plant is also being investigated. Thanks to these measures, the logistics partner is benefiting again from further improvements in flexibility. (mh)