Road transport: Friedewald never rests

When the Christmas or New Year’s spirit comes around in Germany, many people continue to work. They ensure that the country can pick up speed again in the new year and that we don’t have to worry about the supply chains that supply us even during the holidays. At DB Schenker, for example, hundreds of employees are already on the job in advance so that the transport operations keep functioning at the turn of the year.
For example in the central hub in Friedewald. Here, in the hub of the Schenker Hub-and-Spoke-Systems, there is never really any rest. Located in the heart of Germany, Friedewald is the center of DB Schenker’s Hub transport operations. 48 regular transports bring freight to customers and branches every day. Even in special times like these, the hub is well positioned to cushion more volume from the branches.

Christian Krumbein

“It can happen that the volume doubles between December 21st and January 7th.”

“As an internal service provider for the branches, we make sure that the goods reach their destination in a night jump”, says Terminal Manager Christian Krumbein. “Because some of these are premium products, they have to be delivered to the recipient by 8:00 a.m.”

Everything comes together in Friedewald

Like a big wheel, all the spokes come together in Friedewald: On average, the trucks of the regular transports bring 500 tons of freight from the branches every evening. “Then it gets scheduled, in case of doubt overhang vehicles are used. The employees in the hub receive the list with the most important cargo handling data on their tablet, and off we go!”, Explains Anton Hilfer from the Planning Department. The forwarding merchant takes care of scheduling, truck purchasing and ensures that all freight data is available.

Anton Hilfer

“The employees in the hub receive the list with the most important cargo handling data on their tablet, and off we go!”

With the last four line entrances at half past eleven at night, things continue to get busy at the hub: all trucks have to be loaded and leave the yard by one o’clock in the morning. A lot to do for the 35 industrial employees on site, who move an average of 3,000 packages every evening.

At the end of the year, the volume doubles

The system shows hardly any seasonal fluctuations. That only changes at the end of the year, with the hot phase. “The volume doubles between December 21 and January 7,” said Krumbein. Friedewald itself is only closed on Christmas and on December 31st.
But because not all customers shut down their production facilities at the end of the year, their goods have to be transported over the holidays as well. The DB Schenker branches therefore send urgent freight to Friedewald via additional transport. They arrive there in the early evening so that the extra volume can be handled and put on the line before evening handling begins. “Everything has to arrive by 8 p.m. so that we can do it,” explains Hilfer. “That’s why we, together with the branches, have to plan the overhangs in detail. Otherwise these transports will overlap with the regular traffic.”

“Stress before Christmas and New Year: Logistik aktuell reports on the DB Schenker employees who keep Germany’s economy going. #DBSchenker @logistikaktuell“

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So more work in the same amount of time. Because the number of employees remains the same during this peak period. “At the end of each year, we start with a full line-up and full manpower,” said Krumbein. “But we’re so fast – I can’t think of a time when something didn’t work out.”

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Ronny Heinemann
Head of Central Hub Friedewald