(Frankfurt/Main, 7 January 2019) Frankfurt-based Kombiverkehr KG, the European market leader in intermodal rail transport, starts the new year by looking back over five decades of company history. Set up in Frankfurt am Main on 11 February 1969 on the initiative of Georg Leber, who was transport minister at the time, the limited partnership represented associations from the long-distance freight forwarding, shipping and furniture transport sectors, as well as Deutsche Bundesbahn and 56 road hauliers and freight forwarders. Even then the goal was to shift long-distance freight traffic from road to rail. Transport services commenced a short time later on 1 July 1969, when the first truck consignment was handled at Frankfurt am Main (Ost) goods station. Today the company runs a European network with over 770 direct and shuttle trains a week, allowing forwarders and logistics companies to send their shipments by rail, an economical, safe, efficient and climate-friendly mode of transport. With transfer options for transport units between individual trains, multiple departures on busy routes and the integration of more than 230 important national and international terminals, Kombiverkehr KG provides the densest transport network in Europe with the highest frequency of services. The company transports well over 900,000 truck consignments annually and has holdings in 26 companies at home and abroad.
Standards set in intermodal transport
At the end of the 1960s, a road-rail Combined Transport system was the logical answer to the challenges of an economy geared towards modern bulk freight transport. The company's founders stepped into a new age of transport in 1969 with an innovative concept. "Our company stood out for its pioneering work from the start," says Robert Breuhahn, current managing director at Kombiverkehr. "With countless innovations in the areas of sales, operations, IT and technology, our employees have lost none of this pioneering spirit over the last five decades. They have repeatedly set new standards that have added value to the intermodal transport sector in Germany and Europe and made it into a success story." From the first timetable with four services in unaccompanied transport in Germany, the first international route to France in 1970, the commencement of transport on the legendary “rolling roads” between Ingolstadt (Manching) – Brennersee and Dresden – Lovosice in the mid-1990s and the first block train services to Italy all the way to the current multimodal transport network, Kombiverkehr GmbH & Co. KG has evolved together with its limited partners, customers and partner companies from pioneer to European market leader and is firmly rooted in the intermodal world as a neutral provider today. "We have been adding profitable segments to the core business ever since the 1980s," adds fellow managing director Armin Riedl. "Examples include the development of innovative pocket wagons, new self-programming IT systems to handle shipments, holdings in terminal operating companies and the establishment of international traction companies, which now provide efficient services on special transport corridors." All of these measures played a part in helping Kombiverkehr to shift over one million truck consignments from the roads to the railways over the course of a financial year in 2007 – the first European operator ever to do so.
Future project set to increase efficiency in transport handling
An important scheme for the modernisation and future viability of the intermodal sector within the logistics industry has been launched in the form of the "Digitalisation of intermodal supply chains – KV 4.0" project. Kombiverkehr began working on the project in September 2017 along with ten network partners. The primary goal of "KV 4.0" consists in making the logistical process more transparent and manageable for everyone involved along the entire intermodal transport chain, starting with the collection of the transport unit from the shipper to its delivery to the recipient. As things stand today, the conceptual design of all the work packages is complete. An important interim goal of the three-year project has thus been reached, and members of the project group have already been able to invite tenders for technical implementation. Workshops with selected IT companies are due to be held in the coming weeks and months so that a final decision can be taken as to which service provider will be primarily responsible for implementing the "KV 4.0" project. The technical implementation phase should begin within the first six months of the year.
Improvement in performance desperately needed
The quality of performance on the railways continues to be a cause for concern for bosses at Kombiverkehr KG. For years, Combined Transport customers have required average punctuality rates of 85 per cent and 90 per cent in international and national transport respectively, and rightly so. Many European railways have failed to meet this requirement in recent years. Apart from the high number of engineering works on the European rail network, a shortage of resources in terms of train drivers and locomotives and overly complex forms of production, external factors such as bad weather and strikes also have a particularly negative impact on operations. The result is a disproportionate rise in equipment costs, storage fees at the terminals and first and final leg costs. All of this adds to the cost burden of forwarders and logistics companies, who have spent years investing in the Intermodal Transport system and have promoted its overall growth. "Even though an
anniversary year gives us good reason to celebrate the company's achievements over the past 50 years, we will not let up in our ongoing demands for huge improvements in quality from our service providers because the punctuality of our trains is absolutely crucial to the continuing success of the company in years to come. This applies both to us and to our customers," comments Robert Breuhahn on the current situation.
Germany enters the era of Combined Transport: The Kombiverkehr limited partnership was set up on 11 February 1969, with the first trains were running through Germany by the summer of '69. The first shipment took place on 1 July in Frankfurt am Main, where the company was founded and still has its headquarters today.
The press photo can be downloaded here.
Kombiverkehr KG will mark its 2019 anniversary year with its own special events and activities.
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