Stuttgart. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is broadening its cooperation with Deutsche Bahn AG. The Company, which already transports selected vehicles of its 911, Boxster/Cayman and Cayenne model series for key overseas markets by rail, is now also moving component deliveries to its Finnish production partner Valmet Automotive from road to rail. Today, the first train has been loaded at the container terminal in Kornwestheim with the newly developed mega trailers before setting out for Rostock. The trailers mainly contain engines, which will be built into Porsche's Boxster and Cayman models at Valmet Automotive.
Michael Macht, the Executive Vice President for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG said: "By making a commitment to rail transport, we hope to move in a more environmentally friendly direction. Thanks to our close cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, we are already avoiding around 15,000 truck transports per year, which adds to a distance of almost 20 million kilometers. With the component transports to Valmet that we are starting now, we can save almost a further 7,000 truck transports or five million road kilometers per year." At the same time, Porsche wishes to signal to other manufacturers that they should also work more closely with Deutsche Bahn, as Porsche's Board of Management feels that the logistics group is also a reliable and flexible partner for companies with relatively small production scopes.
"By itself, the German road network is no longer going to be able to cope with the forecast growth in transport volumes. It is for precisely this reason that industry has to transport goods by rail wherever possible," says Macht.
Dr. Norbert Bensel, Member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Bahn for Logistics, feels that Porsche's example shows "that Deutsche Bahn has made excellent progress in its development away from being a bulk cargo transporter towards becoming an integrated logistics group. With Porsche, we have successfully implemented sophisticated logistics demands for a medium-sized company on rail in a way that is good business for Deutsche Bahn as well."
In order to meet Porsche's requirements, the Bahn subsidiary Railion AG developed container wagons with suitable mega trailers in close cooperation with the sports car manufacturer, Valmet Automotive and the Finnish transport service provider Nybrok Oy. These wagons have a payload of 25 metric tons and an interior loading height of three meters, and can also be towed by trucks in addition to being transported by rail. This combined transport concept is an important factor for Porsche, as the trailers will be loaded with engines and components both at its plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen and at its suppliers in the south of Germany, driven to the truck container terminal in Kornwestheim and then transported to the Baltic Sea port of Rostock by Deutsche Bahn. From there, the mega trailers will be shipped to the Finnish seaport of Uusikaupunki, before covering the final leg of their journey to Valmet by road. Given the high demand for Boxster and Cayman vehicles, the sports car manufacturer is currently sending around 750 vehicle components per week to its Finnish production partner alone.
In February 2001, Porsche began introducing a transport and logistics concept based largely on rail transports. Since then, selected vehicles for its key overseas markets have been transported from its own loading station in Kornwestheim to the North Sea port of Emden in special wagons. Coming back, the wagons are loaded with Boxster and Cayman models from Finland in Emden. These vehicles are destined for customers in Southern Europe.
Porsche also works with Deutsche Bahn at its plant in Leipzig: Once a day, prefassembled body shells arrive by rail at the plant's own station and are then fed into production. The completed Cayenne vehicles intended for overseas exports are then transported back to Emden by rail. These volumes are expected to soar again when the four-door Panamera sports coupé goes into series production in 2009. The body shells for this model series will also arrive in Leipzig by train – this time coming from the Volkswagen plant in Hanover – and once complete will be taken up to Emden by train.
Note: Images are available for download by accredited journalists from the Porsche press database at http://presse.porsche.de/.