From a small forwarding company to a key player in the Central European logistics market • 2 200 employees in 22 warehouse terminals • Aiming to becoming a leader of innovations and sustainability in modern logistics
In the last 30 years, a small forwarding company with two branches and a handful of employees has become a key player in the Central European logistics market, which employs more than 2 200 people in 22 warehouse terminals alone in the Czech Republic. Within the next 30 years, the domestic branch intends to step up as the leader of logistics innovations, sustainable solutions and as a reliable partner for modern logistics of the 21st century.
“I joined the Czech DB Schenker branch a quarter of a century ago and for the last 15 years I’ve had the honour to be at the head of DB Schenker. I was able to watch first-hand how we gradually grew from a small forwarding company to get among the largest logistics companies on the Czech market with 1.5 million shipments per year and more than 2 200 employees,“ says Tomas Holomoucky, Director of DB Schenker in the Czech Republic, to the last three decades and adds to the current challenges: ”The market has changed very quickly. Digitalisation, automation and new sales and communication channels gradually introduced by Industry 4.0, have been accelerated significantly last year due to Covid-19. The success of companies across the industry will be decided by their ability to respond quickly to these changes.“ Today, DB Schenker offers a wide range of services for all industries that can be tailored to individual customers.
30 Years of Logistics Success
The establishment of Schenker’s first branch in Prague was founded in 1874 by Gottfried Schenker, the founder of the company, during the construction of the Central European Railway Logistics Network. The modern history of DB Schenker in the Czech Republic began in March 1991, when SCHENKER CS Interlogistik was founded in Prague. Two years after its establishment, the company launched its first collection line to Germany and a service of trade fair forwarding in Prague and Brno.
In 2000, the company was established as a reliable logistics partner for land transport to the Nordic and Baltic countries, Austria, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine. With the expansion of collection services to Italy and France, the company required the growth of the new central transhipment centre, which was established in Rudna near Prague where the company located its headquarters. Back then it was the most modern network terminal in the Czech Republic with an area of 10 000 m².
The year 2003 was crucial for the company, as the Schenker network was taken over by Deutsche Bahn. The company thus gained expertise in rail transport and, thanks to the common interest in the environment, started to develop combined transport with the use of railways. Maritime and air transport did not stay behind.
The Czech Republic’s Accession to the EU Has Transformed European Logistics
An important milestone was the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union, which meant a major shift in the development of forwarding and logistics business. In the first two years in the EU, DB Schenker recorded an increase in transport volumes by 80 % and introduced daily connections to many European countries. In the following years, the company’s network of lines and terminals grew steadily and since 2014 the company has been regularly appearing in the rankings of the most important companies in the Czech Republic, which is annually announced by the Czech Top 100 association.
Innovation and Sustainability First
As the key part of the supply chain, logistics companies must keep up with technological innovations and robotization of logistic processes. Last year, DB Schenker launched the operation of an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) at the terminal in Pardubice. A robot named Mir Hook 200 helps transport goods from the warehouse to the packing area at the other end of the hall.
The core value for DB Schenker has long been sustainability, and that is why it has already committed itself to reducing CO2 emissions by 20 % by 2020, which was achieved in 2014, and by 50 % by the year 2030.In collection transport, the company aims to replace diesel drives, preferring compressed CNG natural gas in the Czech Republic. In addition to the “green” fleet of delivery vans in Prague, the company plans to include ever more popular electricity and cargo bikes in Prague.
Investments in Network of Branches
In recent years, DB Schenker has invested in expanding its branch network. This effort gave rise to number of warehouses for special purposes, such as the one in Hradec Kralove designed for oversized shipments. Railway siding is literally priceless for such terminals, and that is the case in the DB Schenker distribution centre in Pardubice, where the direct railway connection to the production plant in nearby Vamberk has replaced more than 50 000 trucks on the road over more than 10 years of operation.
In 2020 alone, the company invested a quarter of a billion Czech crowns in the equipment of its warehouses and wants to continue to do so in the following years. One of this year’s key investments in the DB Schenker warehouse area of more than 260 thousand square meters, to which the company has allocated a total of CZK 388 million, will be an extension of the central railway station in Rudna with an additional 4 000 m2.
Special Transports “Piece of Cake” for DB Schenker
DB Schenker does not forget its social responsibility – it supports the employment of the handicapped, helps non-profit organisations with transports and its employees participate in events such as “Let’s clean up Czechia“. Every year it also provides facilities for important sporting events such as the famous “Jizerska 50“ (50 km cross-country skiing race), the entire SkiTour series, the series “Run through Forests“ and the golf tournament Czech Masters. The Czech Biathlon Association also relies on a specially modified trucks, by which DB Schenker transports the backup team of the national representation to the European World Cup races. DB Schenker also has experience with special transports, for example, it has many times transported all the facilities, including the most important load – musical instruments of the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK – to the “Smetana's Litomysl“ Opera Festival.
“This year we celebrate 30 years of successful operation of the company in the Czech Republic. Over that time, we have overcome number of challenges, from launching transport lines to more than 130 countries around the world through the global economic crisis to the current pandemic situation. I would therefore like to thank particularly to our employees, since without their skills, knowledge and flexibility we would not be able to offer such top-quality services and successfully develop our company. Many thanks also belong to our customers, business partners, suppliers, media and the general public for their cooperation and favour they have been long dedicating to us,“ concludes Tomas Holomoucky.