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Research and Innovation

Our numerous research collaboration projects and the active innovation management at our company make us well equipped for the future.


Today’s ideas are the innovations of tomorrow

As one of the world’s leading logistics and transportation service providers, we want to actively shape the world of tomorrow. We bring science and business together and set a course for the future with innovative concepts.

In the future, the logistics sector will face ever greater challenges. Traffic flows are growing and supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, yet the highest standards in reliability and efficiency must nevertheless be met. We have developed DB Schenker Laboratories to meet these challenges. These think tanks establish ties between the scientific and business communities with the aim of developing today’s ideas into the innovations of tomorrow.

We collaborate with renowned universities and various Fraunhofer Institutes and are constantly expanding our network. We actively advance innovation by promoting science and junior staff training. We assess the market relevance and feasibility of new concepts, coordinate the interests of the different parties involved and coordinate activities with the internal business units. In this way we strike a balance between the economic requirements of day-to-day logistics activities and universal findings gained from scientific enterprise. Our aim is to offer the best services that benefit us all: our customers, our company and not least the climate and environment.

The best investment for the future

At DB Schenker we have worked closely with researchers and scientists for years. We cooperate with TU Darmstadt, universities in Russia and various Fraunhofer Institutes.

We at DB Schenker are convinced that close cooperation between the business and research communities can benefit all sides. That’s why we collaborate with numerous scientific establishments, and that number is on the rise. Topics focus on megatrends such as globalization, liberalization, scarcity of resources, urbanization and trends that apply specifically to logistics. Other topics include technology and IT, especially asset intelligence and innovative transshipment technologies for road and rail. 

DB Schenker Laboratory cooperative institute at TU Darmstadt
We are expanding research and teaching in transportation and logistics through our new cooperation institute at Darmstadt Technical University (TU Darmstadt). The lab is based on the three pillars of teaching, research and development, and junior staff recruitment and fosters a lively exchange and direct feedback with the business world. New junior professorships are dedicated to logistics planning and information systems and to multimodality and logistics technologies. In addition to its research activities, DB Schenker Lab is developing teaching and further education offerings for TU Darmstadt students and our DB Schenker employees. This allows us to ensure scientific findings make a rapid transition to practical applications.

Center for International Logistics in St. Petersburg (CIL)
By creating the cooperation center in St. Petersburg, we are aiming to establish a leading cluster of excellence in logistics research and development, together with Russian Railways. The innovative partnership – the only one of its kind to date – is a joint effort together with our academic partners: St. Petersburg State University, the European Business School and St. Petersburg State Transport University. CIL encourages doctoral candidate exchanges, degrees recognized in both countries and joint further education programs. The first products of the partnership include a research report about the development of contract logistics in Russia and extensive teaching material such as the “Logistics and SCM” online encyclopedia (link: see upper right corner).

Encouraging additional research clusters
We are also committed to numerous other research and scientific projects. One example is promoting and providing active design support for the establishment of the House of Logistics and Mobility (HOLM) in Frankfurt am Main. We are involved in four research projects at the LogistikRuhr efficiency cluster in North Rhine-Westphalia and are also part of various cooperations with Fraunhofer Institutes.

Our strategy for the future

Calling for, promoting and implementing innovations are essential components of our corporate culture. We ensure that ideas and innovations are managed systematically, setting new standards for markets.

As one of the world’s leading logistics services providers, we must be able to react quickly to new surrounding conditions. To do so, we need processes that make our work more economical, efficient and environmentally friendly. We actively encourage new ideas through our innovation management program. Innovations include new products launched on the market, but they can also take the form of a new process, a new product, an organization, a business model or social innovation.

We take a systematic approach to managing ideas and innovations: from gathering ideas, evaluating potential, conducting feasibility studies, creating business cases and development to carrying out pilot projects and market launch. This process focuses on cooperation with internal and external partners from industry and research. We steer the innovation process and work together with the internal business units to develop new approaches.

Products of our innovation process include the innovative DB Schenker Smartbox, the social media and knowledge management platform “Kompass” and a transport concept for a major automotive manufacturer, which involved the “Mobiler” technology and an innovative adaptation to container railcars to find a cost-effective and uncomplicated road/rail solution with jumbo swap bodies.