Volkswagen is testing a new automotive box solution for the movement of parts by rail, beginning with shipments between its Wolfsburg plant in Germany and its plant in Kaluga, Russia.
The box has been designed by Schenker Automotive Railnet in cooperation with Volkswagen Logistics and from April DB Schenker will carry out test runs on the Wolfsburg to Kaluga route up until the summer 2010.
The boxes can be transhipped by crane or mobile handling equipment from the standard Central European gauge to the Russian wide-gauge carrying wagons, avoiding the usual delays associated with container movements.
This innovation is intended to simplify and accelerate processes for Volkswagen, a key account for DB Schenker,” said Axel Marschall, head of automotive at DB Schenker Rail. “These transport boxes are highly flexible and enable novel cross-modal loading and unloading processes.”
The boxes have an inside loading height of 3 metres against the conventional container height of 2.69 metres and can hold up to 26.5 tonnes of material. They come in two versions: curtain sided, with movable side panels and a lifting room option; and Wingliners, with hydraulically operated side panels. Both can be rear-loaded and stacked in two tiers.
DB Schenker Rail already supplies assembly sets to Kaluga from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany for assembly.
The Kaluga plant officially began full production with the VW Tiguan and Škoda Octavia in October last year, having started operations in 2007 with SKD assembly. In the second development stage, it will be expanded to include a body shop, paint shop and final assembly for up to 150,000 vehicles a year. This means a significant change in the demands made on the plant with assembly sets supplied as individual parts and modules, and delivered straight to the assembly lines.
Volkswagen’s investment in the Kaluga plant is €570m ($776m) and a customs post was opened there last summer, making rail transport logistics easier.