Pilot project puts DPD’s parcels on rail

DPD swap body loaded on a train. Photo: © KombiverkehrKombiverkehr

DPD Germany wants to transport parcels between its depots in Duisburg and Hamburg by rail. For this purpose, it launched a pilot project in collaboration with Kombiverkehr with daily trains running between the two destinations since 30 May. “Our first interim goal is for around 5 per cent of DPD’s domestic freight transport to be shipped by rail as early as next year”, said Anke Förster, chief network planning and optimisation officer at DPD Germany.

“In the round trip between Hamburg and Duisburg, each swap body loaded with DPD shipments will emit around one tonne less CO2 than pure road transport. This corresponds to a saving of more than 80 per cent. Intermodal transport will therefore bring DPD a good deal closer to achieving its climate targets,” emphasised Björn Saschenbrecker from the sales department at Kombiverkehr.

Choose your parcel shipping method

Sustainability is the number one driver for such modal shift cases. DPD, as a large parcel logistics company, uses road transportation heavily. However, the flexible intermodal solution resulting from the partnership with Kombiverkehr might be more efficient. “Thanks to Kombiverkehr, we don’t need to fill a complete train but can book individual swap bodies onto existing routes,” said Förster.

This flexibility will also play a role in DPD’s future plans since it aims to use rail freight transport in long-distance services apart from domestic ones. “The Duisburg-Hamburg route is ideal for us, as our depots in both places are near the rail cargo terminals,” said Förster. “However, our long-term goal is climate-neutral logistics. This can prove quite challenging since an additional means of transport means more complexity, and at the same time, we want to make sure we keep our service promises,” she added.

In the long run, Förster emphasised that DPD wants to work on increasing visibility and awareness of the rail freight products among the consumers. “In the long term, our customers will certainly have the choice of receiving their goods by the fastest possible means of transport by road, or with the greatest possible sustainability by rail,” she concluded.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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