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Just in sequence deliveries by rail to the Škoda Auto production

Using an integrated and dynamic concept, the companies DB Cargo Logistics and DB Schenker support Škoda Auto in the use of new production capacities.

The increasing individualization is a major challenge for the automotive industry. And flexibility is the imaginary key to being able to respond to customer requirements. Also the logistics service providers, such as the company DB Cargo Logistics, also need to expand further. Thanks to new concepts and integrated, highly flexible solutions, the rail freight transport is successfully moving towards the future.

For example, in the case of the Czech car manufacturer Škoda Auto. Its Karoq SUV proved to be a real hit with customers. The production is really of large scale. In the Czech Republic, the company has two plants that are fully utilized. Škoda now uses the production capacity of other plants in the joint action of the Volkswagen Group to speed up the production and delivery of the required vehicle. The Volkswagen plant in Osnabrück has become a new assembly line for Karoq.

Transport of parts from the Czech Republic to Germany

However, many parts need to be brought from the Czech Republic to Germany to this end. In cooperation with the logistics of the Volkswagen plant in Osnabrück, the companies DB Cargo Logistics and DB Schenker in the Czech Republic have developed an integrated a logistics concept for delivering several hundred raw Karoq bodies per week from the Kvasiny plant to the production facility  in Osnabrück, Germany.

Not only the bodies, but also other parts from other suppliers from the Czech Republic also need to be transported to Osnabrück: there the bodies are painted and the final assembly of the cars is carried out. “We are very proud that we obtained this contract - it is both a motivation and a commitment for us,” says Gunnar Grahlmann, the Key Account Manager at DB Cargo Logistics. “We have succeeded in the competition of trucks and other rail carriers.”

The transport by rail has scored for three reasons. The car plant values the sustainability of the concept - the railway is the most environmentally friendly way of transport.  On the other hand, DB Cargo Logistics succeeded in convincing the customer thanks to the integrated concept - the freight forwarder works closely in its own group with the logistics company DB Schenker and uses the facilities of its logistics terminal with a railway siding in Pardubice.

And finally, the logistics engineers have managed to meet the customer’s specific “just-in-sequence” requirements. “For the first time, we have been able to integrate the railway into a just-in-sequence supply concept for complex deliveries to the production plants, “explains Gunnar Grahlmann. “Thanks to the concept and personal commitment, we have been able to ensure that we guarantee reliability and accuracy in delivery.” Other transportation projects implemented by DB Cargo Logistics helped as a reference: Since the beginning of 2018, the raw bodies of Škoda Fabia have been transported by rail from the Czech plant in Mladá Boleslav to Osnabrück.

In this way, DB Cargo Logistics dispatched up to eight trains each week. In Osnabrück, the bodies were painted and then transported back to the Czech Republic for final assembly. The references from this project helped the company DB Cargo Logistics also obtain a contract for the transport of parts for Karoq.

Multi-system locomotives and sliding-wall wagons with GPS

Since the end of 2018, high priority trains have been running for Škoda Auto across the Czech-Saxon valley of the Elbe River. DB Cargo uses multi-system locomotive of class 189, thus eliminating the usual replacement of locomotives. For the bodies, the company uses large-volume vehicles with sliding walls. With a loading height of approximately 3.20 meters, they are ideal for two-storey bases. At the same time, DB Cargo installed GPS equipment into the vehicles.

“The customers and also we have all relevant traffic data in our hands - we always know where the trains are,” explains Gunnar Grahlmann. This is important for traffic management, as the production of Karoq requires extremely high logistics reliability. Exactly 15 hours is what the train needs to travel the 800 km route from Pardubice through the Děčín-Bad Schandau border crossing to Osnabrück. But at the finish, at the Volkswagen plant, the DB Cargo employees have been operating, and the railway company has been moving the rail vehicles on the customer’s siding for several years.

“This is how we have the entire logistics chain in our hands, and this is, of course, essential for the reliability and quality of operation,” explains Gunnar Grahlmann. “An important benefit of the transport of Škoda cars is the partnership within the DB Group. The close cooperation between DB Cargo and DB Schenker in the Czech Republic offers additional benefits for customers, allowing us to fully adapt the transport chain to individual customer needs.” In order to transfer the success factors of this new concept into other logistics projects, the company DB Cargo Logistics, with other customers, has begun to analyse the future development of their transport. The aim is to meet customer requirements and to further expand the offer of both companies. The experience has shown that complex logistics concepts can be successfully implemented together.