More parcels on the rails

Berlin (dpa) – Buy shoes, furniture or laptops with one click and have them delivered to your home: Online shopping has long been part of everyday life for many consumers in Germany.

The Corona- The crisis has accelerated the trend once again: for the first time, the mark of four billion sent parcels was broken last year – that was almost eleven percent more than in the previous year, according to the latest survey by the Federal Association of Parcel and Express Logistics (Biek).

The transport alone is a major burden for the environment, because the vast majority of shipments are transported by road: 64, 4 million tons of which trucks drove on the highways last year , as can be seen from statistics from the Federal Motor Transport Authority. This means that around two percent of all truck freight traffic is accounted for by mail and parcels.

For comparison: According to the Federal Statistical Office, it was zero tonnes in the same period. Deutsche Post, in turn, states that so far two percent of DHL parcels have been transported in freight trains for a large part of their route.

On Monday, the group presented new connections with Deutsche Bahn together with Deutsche Bahn this proportion has now risen to six percent. In the long term, every fifth parcel should be transported by rail. The group has not yet given an exact schedule. “The cooperation with Deutsche Bahn and the expansion of fast, light freight transport by rail is an important part of our sustainability strategy,” said Post Board Member Tobias Meyer.

So far, it has been for Post and Parcels 13 connections given by the rail freight subsidiary, DB Cargo, almost all of which run on weekends. “Now seven more train connections have been added, mostly on weekdays,” it said. For example, destinations in the greater Dortmund, Mannheim and Frankfurt / Main areas would be approached from the Großbeeren freight terminal in Brandenburg.

DHL competitors are still reluctant to do this. DPD tried out parcel shipping by rail about ten years ago; in a pilot project there were trains on the Bremen – Nuremberg route, among other things. The project has been discontinued.

It will take some time, however, before a considerable part of the parcel volume is shifted from road to rail. Parcel service providers are difficult to reach by rail, said the rail association Allianz pro Schiene: “They built their logistics centers on the green meadow without a rail connection or transhipment terminal for combined transport, so that the warehouses can often only be reached by truck.”

Selected parcel centers get sidings

the federal Government is therefore called for cooperation with countries and communities to take more responsibility for regional planning, “which means that all new logistics sites should only siding and handling ability planned and approved on the rails. ”

The Post announced on Monday that it would equip selected parcel centers with sidings. “The parcel center in Cologne is to start, in which an expansion and construction of direct access to the neighboring Eifeltor container terminal is planned”, it said. However, structural and regulatory requirements made such projects difficult and protracted. In addition, it remains a challenge for the rail companies to handle the parcel transport, which is dependent on punctuality and speed, at the necessary speed.

Nevertheless, the managing director of the European Railways Network (NEE), Peter Westenberger, sees Post and parcels for the rail an “important market”. The railway’s competitors are organized in the association. They are “well positioned” in the so-called combined transport, which is relevant for the parcels. The challenges are not insoluble, but what is needed is a “clear commitment from the shippers”, that is, from the parcel services. “I don’t see that at the moment,” said Westenberger.

As a first step, Deutsche Bahn refers to the expansion of its own overnight freight connections: “We have two connections a year 2020 set up for the first time – now we’re going according to plan on twelve lines night after night, ”it said. “If customers deliver a freight wagon or freight by a certain time, it is delivered the next morning.”

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