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Railways News 02-2017

Daimler on the overland route to China

The car manufacturer relies on DB Cargo to transport time-critical components

In January of this year, DB Cargo added a new German location to the land bridge to China for the car manufacturer Daimler. Since then, containers have been sent on their way from Daimler’s Speyer plant on the 12,000-kilometre rail journey to China.

After more than four years of planning and first test shipments in 2012, Europe’s best-performing rail freight company started regular transport operations from Stuttgart and Bremen to China in April 2016. Now, Speyer has also been added to the network that connects Germany with the Shijing Shan South Terminal in Beijing.

Enlarge imageChina Daimler, Deutsche Bahn AG

“The land bridge is the last piece of the puzzle in planning transport operations between Germany and China, and it perfectly complements the other transport modes – sea and air – with regard to the price–transport time ratio,” explains Martin Fildebrandt, Head of Sales & Operations Centre/Key Account Manager at DB Cargo Logistics – formerly known as DB Schenker Rail Automotive. He has been looking after Daimler, an important customer, for four years and is responsible for component transport operations for the car manufacturer and its subsidiaries and suppliers.

The trains carrying loads for Daimler operate up to three times a week. 700 containers were transported in the period between April and December 2016 alone, and up to 50 containers a week are transported during peak times. These contain components that are assembled in China – everything from headlights to gearboxes. “The land bridge is especially suitable for time-critical freight, for which shipping by sea would be too slow,” explains Fildebrandt. Thanks to IT tools such as LINC, DB Cargo and Daimler know exactly where each container is at all times.

Network know-how

Daimler is an important customer for DB Cargo. In 2011 the rail freight company set up Daimler RailNet as an exclusive transport network for Daimler, linking nine European Mercedes­Benz plants by road and rail.

The land bridge to China is one of the most complex logistical projects of our time: thousands of kilometres through inhospitable land, several national borders, various customs and legal spheres, different track widths and complex transhipment processes. Managing this kind of transport operation not only requires an extensive network but also skilled and experienced staff. DB Cargo has been active on the route for many years and has established the connection for numerous customers as an alternative to the comparatively slow sea route and the more expensive option of air. BMW is another car manufacturer that uses this service. The BMW group extended its contract with DB Cargo for the transportation of vehicle parts from Leipzig and Regensburg to northern China in May 2016. (an)

Last modified: 17.02.2017

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