DB Schenker has recently celebrated 50 years of activity in South Africa, a period that has seen it grow services for a wide range of sectors, with automotive being one it is main business areas, supporting carmakers including BMW and VW as well as their suppliers.

According to the company, since it opened a small office for air and ocean freight on October 11, 1962 Schenker South Africa has grown to be one of the country’s leading providers of logistics services, present in Johannesburg, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Cape Town. And it now offers the full range of freight forwarding, contract logistics services and supply chain management, national distribution as well as customs clearance.

On the strength of its growth, the company has announced that it will move into a new corporate office in Joannesburg next October that will include a new shared logistics centre that will expand its storage capacity by more than 50%.

The 40,000 square-meter facility will include 4,300 square meters of offices for both the regional main office and Johannesburg branch as well as 35,000 square meters of warehouse. The new buildings are being constructed along a new access road for Johannesburg's Oliver Tambo International Airport, speeding deliveries and making employee commutes simple. Construction started earlier this year.

“Our success shows that good performance and a high commitment makes it possible to win and keep customers, even in an environment that is not always an easy one,” said Dr Thomas C. Lieb, chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Schenker AG.

South Africa is also the home of the Regional Head Office for the network of DB Schenker in Sub-Saharan Africa, coordinating the activities in 19 countries, amongst others, Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Expansion of UK-Italy service
In other news, DB Schenker UK has recently added another return service between Hams Hall in the UK Midlands and Domodossola in Northern Italy. The addition means that four return rail freight services are now operating per week between the UK and Italy via the Channel tunnel.

The additional service provides customers with a haulage solution four days per week, with trains departing every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The company said the services are used by a wide a range of manufacturers and retailers.

Alain Thauvette, CEO of DBS UK, said: “By introducing a fourth rail freight service between the UK and Italy, we have strengthened our ability to provide customers with a regular and reliable logistics alternative to road haulage. We look forward to operating a full weekday service in the coming year. Doing so enables customers to switch freight from road to rail, helping to reduce carbon.”

DB Schenker Rail said that a fifth service will be introduced in early 2013. This will be the first time that a five-day-a-week rail freight service between the UK and Italy has been made available to customers.