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Port smarts

Hinterland connection 2.0

See the future of rail freight as part of an ­integrated supply chain at the new London Gateway port.

Booking transports online, tracking a container and at the same time classifying three other containers by computer – when it comes to DB Schenker’s intermodal services, there’s nothing futuristic about it. “We want to make rail services even smarter,” says Steve Pryce, Head of Marketing at DB Schenker Rail UK. That includes expanding the network to new destinations and expediting the complete integration of customers and other participants in the supply chain. At the ports in the North range, from Antwerp to Rotterdam to ­Hamburg, many DB Schenker services already interlock so that the containers can be transported seamlessly from ship to ­customer and back again.

Enlarge imageContainer transshipment 2013, DB Schenker

*planned capacity after completion; Source: Port of Hamburg


The future of this logistics sector can be experienced daily at the new superport London Gateway. After completion, 24 terminal cranes will handle 3.5 million TEU annually on the gigantic site. Around 30 percent of that will be transported by rail. “About a year ago the first train with containers left the new London Gateway terminal – with the new resource and order management system Anubis.” 

Rail services will be even more flexible

Anubis is the magic word for the entire DB Schenker network. Eventually the system will be implemented in other DB Schenker branch offices in Europe and will provide an even better network. “DB Schenker Rail UK is using Anubis first, since we wanted the launch of the system to directly coincide with the official opening of London Gateway last year,” explains Pryce. 

As partner and operator of the intermodal hinterland connections to the new port, DB Schenker was able to integrate the Anubis system directly into the IT at London Gateway. “That means that our customers not only know when the container that we picked up will be on the rails and when it will be at the port, they also receive a notification about the exact location of the container, as soon as the freight has arrived at its destination.” This transparency provides a very high degree of reliability. 

Enlarge imageDB Schenker UK, DB Schenker UK


In its first year of operations at London Gateway, DB Schenker Rail UK transported more than 4,000 containers into and out of the port. Many of them were loaded with foodstuffs from South Africa and South America. The main exports were high-end foods and brand-name products. 98 percent of the containers transported by DB Schenker Rail UK reached their destination on time. As operator of the intermodal terminal in the port, DB Schenker is also responsible for loading containers onto the freight wagons of other rail carriers.

But the vision for the future goes far beyond London Gateway. “One of our next objectives is to further improve networking between DB Schenker’s British and continental locations. One of the things we have in mind is the seamless transition from trains running on standard continental gauge tracks to the British rail network in the Euro Hub being planned for London-Barking.” This tighter link-up of the network coincides with a constant stream of innovations with regard to services from DB Schenker, of which Anubis and value-added services are just the first step. “The days when all we did was transport containers from A to B are long gone,” says Steve Pryce. “In the future, intermodal rail services will be integrated even further into the value chain.”

Last modified: 15.04.2015

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