Move an entire industrial facility to Russia within one month-that was the job Rhenus was tasked with. We accepted the challenge and pooled our skills to complete it successfully. This project spanned several countries, over both land and water routes. It took special transporters and tremendously motivated employees. Their experiences during this extraordinary mission and the roles they played are explained in the following stories, from four different perspectives.
Special freight calls for special expertise. And the project manager needed all the know-how under his belt for a special assignment such as this. After all, it involved a series of tricky, complex tasks that had to be mastered before even the first truck could get underway. After learning what goods needed to be transported, we had to come up with the best, most cost-effective route and check out potential transportation risks. To do that, the project manager contacted local partners, whose quotes had to be pooled and coordinated. One major challenge was that the consignments not only originated in different countries but also required different carriers, including ships and heavy cargo transportation vehicles. Carriage from Portugal, Spain and Denmark to Russia had to be arranged, the transshipment and transfer points determined, and all the schedules and deadlines coordinated. This called for the ultimate in precision planning, and for the project manager to be on the ground in Russia. The project manager's job included driving along parts of the route to pinpoint tough stretches and construction sites alongside managing key customs formalities. So a huge responsibility rested on his shoulders throughout.
Being part of such a large-scale transportation project was an experience our trainee will not forget any time soon. As a member of the project team, he had already assisted in the contract award process, taking on responsibilities such as preparing the proposal, contacting the authorities to secure the required permits and assigning a route analysis. Then came the most exciting part: personally escorting the vehicle during the journey. After helping the project manager check whether any damage had occurred on the inland waterway leg, the freight was transferred to special transporters and secured. All systems go! Due to its size and the speed restrictions, the heavy-haul vehicle could not get rolling until after 10 pm-unusual working hours, and not just for trainees. Roads had to be closed and bridges crossed. Without a detailed route analysis containing all the key information about potential obstacles, a challenge like this could hardly have been met. Five hours and many bridges, intersections and bends later, the consignment had reached its first destination: customs, where the imported goods were registered the next day. Then a crane unloaded the plant components. Mission accomplished! One thing is clear: the vital importance of spot-on organization for projects of this size and complexity. After all, even the smallest of obstacles, if left unaccounted for, could jeopardize the entire undertaking. For trainees with plenty of initiative coupled with the desire to take on responsibility and a clear focus on achieving goals, it is just the challenge they have been waiting for.
All consignments for the planned industrial facility in Russia went by truck and ocean vessel. To make coordinating transportation as smooth as possible, all the freight was bundled at one joint terminal in Russia. There, the consignments had to be loaded onto an inland waterway vessel for their onward journey. It took exceptional precision-down to the last centimeter-to stow all the freight, some of which weighed tons. No problem for the seasoned team of dockworkers: carrying out operations from the ship's railing, the various cranes and onboard the vessel itself, they worked hand in hand to get the job done efficiently and keep lay time to a minimum. After unloading, the consignments were checked for any en route damage, then loaded onto an inland waterway vessel according to a detailed stowage plan. Finally, the ship set off on its two-week journey. What is special about dockworkers at Rhenus? They handle goods with exceptional attention to detail, roll up their sleeves and get down to it.
There are two managing directors in our Projects business unit. They are in charge of over 20 branches in more than 15 countries. Responsibility for each of the countries-and hence also for the projects-is allocated according to the individual's logistics strengths and experience. During the course of the project, the managing director's duties included: reading and evaluating the request for proposals (RFP) with the head of the country organization; drafting a transportation strategy; and conducting a feasibility study based on the customer requirements. This development phase can take up to two years for such large-scale projects. The managing director naturally also takes part in the subsequent contract negotiations and checks the final contract along with the legal and insurance departments. How does the managing director's job differ from that of the project manager? While the latter's focus is on dealing with suppliers, partners and the authorities, the ultimate decision-making power rests with the managing director, who also oversees the project controlling. This means the managing director must be sufficiently business-minded, with the requisite skills to develop concepts and make decisions.