Rhenus transformed a former transshipment port for coal, soda lye and salt into one of Germany's largest coal terminals. Today, freighters can dock at the Rhenus Bulk Terminal Wilhelmshaven's XXL area and unload their energy-rich cargo. An ambitious project that called for tremendous commitment, but also tapped into a rich seam of new opportunities. Learn more about what drove our workforce as they expanded the coal terminal and continues to excite them today.
The site manager-to-be had already been involved in the project from day one in his role as project coordinator. With investment projects on this scale, it is often the little things that require special attention. Take, for instance, the countless applications for building permits that filled 28 binders for one section alone. Or the many meetings the future site manager and the company's top-tier executives conducted with the authorities. Alongside permit management, he was also in charge of the pivotal tasks of monitoring the budget and resolving the finer technical points, such as: How far apart should the conveyor belts be? What materials need to be used to guarantee sufficient storage life? What are the key factors to consider for the projected coal blending? Occupational safety was also a major aspect of the project phase. This entailed checking continuously whether everything met the required standards and had been set up correctly. So during this phase, most of the project coordinator's work was done at the construction site itself. Once the new terminal expansion at the Rhenus Bulk Terminal Wilhelmshaven was complete, he stepped into the role of site manager for the terminals. Quality management, resource planning and contracts now also fall under his purview. It is a whole package of exciting challenges that call for a great deal of experience and sound knowledge of the industry.
The newly expanded coal terminal is also home to two power plants belonging to energy companies Rhenus has been working with for years. Other coal-fired power stations and consumers in Germany and neighboring countries are also supplied by block trains that depart from here. What does all this mean for the sales force at this location? Focusing their energies on the existing customer base while also canvassing new business. Successful sales in this industry takes knowledge: what types of coal there are with what characteristics and grades; where the coal comes from; who consumers are and how they use the coal; the pros and cons of certain modes of transportation; and the shipping options and onward logistics routes. Plus an understanding of your own facility's potential-such as throughput capacity and availability of warehouse space. All this knowledge is indispensable for sales representatives in this industry when the coal terminal is presenting itself to potential customers or exhibiting at trade shows and other events. Our sales team draw on their expertise in coal to underscore Rhenus's strengths and benefits and to develop logistics concepts that meet customers' needs. Especially when it comes to selling coal, the sales force need to liaise closely with the operational units to keep customers coming back for more. For all these reasons, a very sound knowledge of the industry and excellent communications skills are the key to success in sales at Rhenus.
Ports never sleep: at a terminal like the Rhenus Bulk Terminal Wilhelmshaven, ships are loaded and unloaded, cranes moved, and trucks secured and readied for onward transportation virtually nonstop. That means the team of on-site technical experts need to keep their eyes and ears open around the clock, always prepared to solve problems and carry out repairs. So two members out of the 15-strong team-ten mechanics and 5 electricians-are always on standby every night. To prevent malfunctions before they occur, all facilities and vehicles are checked regularly according to a maintenance schedule. Whether it is the equipment for loading railcars, the coal conveyor systems, equipment connections, controls or the heating system: everything needs to run like clockwork to avoid costly downtime. So it is vital for each of the mechanics and electricians to know the facility inside out. They are familiar with all the snags and support on-site workflows with their technical expertise. Above all else, technical staff in this environment need exceptional flexibility and the ability to work independently. .
The term for all the formalities involved in a ship's docking or departing is clearance. This refers chiefly to the process of registering arriving and departing cargo and crew with the respective authorities. It is used, for instance, as the basis for charging fees, taxes and duties. During their stint in the clearance department, apprentices assume a range of responsibilities, learning how each process works as they go. Together with their team, they are first tasked by the freight forwarder with the full clearance of a vessel. During this process, they are the central point of contact for all those involved-forwarder, crew, authorities and transshipment operator at the port. Once the job has been assigned, the apprentices set up a carrier account to record all the costs and credits accruing during the ship's time at port. They also prepare all the clearance documents for incoming goods. Once the ship has docked, the apprentices accompany customs officers aboard the vessel, where they take care of all the necessary customs formalities together with the captain. Then they coordinate delivery, scope of performance and order specifications regarding the shipment-also with the captain. The apprentices then enter all the documents and data gathered on board into the system. If the ship is preparing to depart, the requisite documents must be issued and countersigned by the captain on board. Once the vessel has left the port, the apprentices start the processing work, billing all the costs incurred and sending the total invoice to the forwarder. For this broad spectrum of tasks, accuracy is particularly important. It is also suited to those who enjoy working with both people and numbers.