Press Release

Pilot project unlocks the digitalisation potential in trimodal transport operations for bulk cargo

The Rhenus Group and its partner Schüttflix are using a pilot project to examine the potential that is available for using digitalisation when transporting bulk cargo and excavated soil for multimodal process chains. The partners are working together to gather extensive data in order to precisely map the combination of road, inland waterway and rail services in digital form. The goal is to manage material flows more efficiently and more accurately along fairly large distances.

During the test phase, 25 ships and three block trains have so far transported more than 40,000 tonnes of excavated soil stemming from the major “Filder Tunnel” building project in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg from the Neckar port in Plochingen to Düsseldorf since 2021. Those involved in the project celebrated this intermediate success story at an event held in the port of Düsseldorf with the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Economic Affairs, Prof. Dr Andreas Pinkwart, on Tuesday. Shifting the traffic to inland waterway vessels replaces more than 1,600 truck journeys during most of the route and in comparison saves more than 1,400 tonnes of CO2. The bulk cargo fleet operated by Schüttflix is only used on the fairly short transport routes between the building site and the loading port or from the unloading port to the place where the materials will then be used again.

The minister underlined the potential of trimodal traffic for his federal state during his visit. “Switching the traffic from the roads to the railways and inland waterway vessels plays a key role here from an economic, transport and climate policy point of view. We, the state government, are therefore deliberately investing in trimodal infrastructure. We’re enlarging the railway network, we’re building waterways and we’re modernising ports, for example by promoting ‘Smart Shipping’. In this way, North Rhine-Westphalia is creating the ideal conditions to fully use its potential as a leading industrial and logistics location in Europe well into the future.”

“The Rhenus Group can make use of decades of experience in organising multimodal transport chains in the bulk commodities sector,” says Christian Theis, the Managing Director of Rhenus Ports, explaining the situation. “Multimodal transport operations are the perfect answer to all the questions raised about the future of bulk cargo logistics. The challenges related to transhipping, storing and moving the waste that needs to be transported within the project not only include coordinating the individual partners along the transport chain, but particularly the availability of suitable transhipment facilities with the relevant permits to handle waste. We’ve resolved these complex requirements within the pilot project and we’ve proven the enormous potential that lies dormant and is available for digitalisation.”

The project partners also see many more opportunities as they look to the future. The Schüttflix founder and CEO, Christian Hülsewig, adds, “Networking the different means of transport, trucks, inland waterway vessels and goods trains, is a complex business. A great deal of data is generated, particularly at the logistical hubs. By digitalising and standardising this, by analysing processes quickly, we’re able to make procedures much more efficient and flexible. Platform solutions such as Schüttflix can therefore make a contribution towards dovetailing the participants even more closely along the entire transport chain. As a result, trimodal traffic becomes faster, safer and more sustainable.”

About Rhenus & Schüttflix

About Rhenus
The Rhenus Group is one of the leading logistics specialists with global business operations and annual turnover amounting to EUR 7.0 billion. 37,500 employees work at 970 business sites and develop innovative solutions along the complete supply chain. Whether providing transport, warehousing, customs clearance or value-added services, the family-owned business pools its operations in various business units where the needs of customers are the major focus at all times.

About Schüttflix
Schüttflix GmbH is the first logistics hub for the bulk cargo sector; it functions digitally, but supplies sand, gravel and grit to exactly where they are needed in analogue form. The app connects suppliers and freight forwarders directly with customers operating in the construction, civil engineering, gardening and landscaping segments. Instead of having fragmented, regional services that are not transparent, Schüttflix creates an efficient market for all common types of bulk cargo for the very first time and it is available across Germany. The shareholders of Schüttflix are the founding partners, Christian Hülsewig and Thomas Hagedorn, the actress and TV presenter, Sophia Thomalla, as well as the Speedinvest and HV Capital venture capital funds.

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