As part of sustainable logistics concepts and in order to increase supply chain reliability for an important raw material, pulp, Koehler is making greater use of rail transportation.
“We have expanded the existing rail connection, which was too small, added manual underground switches to it, and also purchased a modern shunting robot. This will enable employees to handle shunting work at the plant independently and flexibly and to process four times as much incoming tonnage,” explained Andreas Riedlinger, logistics team leader at Koehler. Total investments amounted to EUR 1 million. Since the start of the year, three to four weekly block trains have re-placed deliveries by truck, which amounted to as many as 15 per day.
The trains are loaded in the Lower Saxony harbor of Brake, where ships from overseas arrive with their pulp cargo. The trains then head south on an overnight journey. The train known as the “Pulp Sprinter” (staff at the German railway company Deutsche Bahn also refer to it as the “Koehler Sprinter”) now ensures optimal transit times, reduced idling times, and cargo bay stability.
“Because low-water periods on the Rhine have increased in recent years, it became necessary to modify transport logistics to protect the supply chain, even though water transportation and goods handling at the Kehl harbor of course continue to have priority in terms of volume,” said Klaus Krieg, Head of Supply Chain Management for the Koehler Paper Group. “By making increased use of the railways, we are enhancing supply chain reliability, reducing local truck traffic, and at the same time improving our environmental footprint. A perfect combination.”