Stena Line on the importance of intermodality
Stena Line continues to expand the route network across Europe, connecting larger freight volumes at key hubs such as Poznan, Hamburg and Verona. The hubs serve the important purpose of being gateways for goods in transit; they are collection points for cargo travelling through Europe on the way to a final destination on a route that sooner or later passes through Stena Line’s sophisticated shipping service.
”We believe that intermodal services, in combination with our route network, make up a strong value proposition to our clients. We will make combined rail and ferry solutions easily available via our electronic tools under the vision One booking, One price and One unit”, says Jacob Koch-Nielsen, Freight Commercial Manager Scandinavia.
The Stena Line route between Kiel and Gothenburg is strengthened through a large investment in direct train connections to key hubs in Germany. In addition, the so called Western corridor’s capacity has increased by connecting Italy with Kiel, via rail.
Similar efforts are made in Holland in order to secure a larger number of freight kilometers on sea and rail.
Increasing freight volumes
Christof Weichbrodt, Stena Line Freight Manager with responsibility for the network across Central Europe, explains that Hamburg has long been the traditional hub for cargo travelling from all over Europe to Sweden through the Port of Kiel, and vice versa. He also reveals that the rail shuttle service capacity from Hamburg to Kiel has been maxed for several years, leaving little space for an increase in freight volumes on that route.
By connecting a direct train from Verona in northern Italy to Kiel in 2012, Stena Line increased the volume of goods transported across the Western corridor with the Port of Gothenburg at one end of the line.
As from February 2014, the Port of Kiel extended business with yet another direct intermodal train connection, this time to another German hub, Duisburg. This gives Stena Line the possibility, via the route from Gothenburg to Kiel, to connect Sweden with the hinterland and reach the Ruhr area in a much quicker and easier way.
With a substantially increased capacity throughout the network, Stena Line can now offer intermodal services to a much larger customer base.
Connecting key hubs and markets
“My main aim is to get to know our clients and comply with their demands and wishes”, says Freight Commercial Manager Rob Mittelmeijer, representing Benelux, France, Spain and Portugal.
From the ports Hoek van Holland and Rotterdam Stena Line connects the UK and Irish markets to the rest of Europe.
“My most important task is to develop Stena Line’s service network across the Northern Sea, ensuring that the growing markets in our area are able to rely on an efficient intermodal service”.
By starting up a direct train connection from Poznan to Rotterdam, Stena Lines secures units from Central Europe that will be shipped the same day over the North Sea. Mittelmeijer is looking to expand the network further by initiating another service from Poland, hopefully with daily departures from Warsaw to Rotterdam.
Part of a solution to future threats
Rob Mittelmeijer underlines that the new sulphur regulations (to be applied in the SECA-area as from 2015) are a central aspect in Stena Line’s new vision concerning Broadening Business. “The new regulations are a challenge to our general business, and this is why we are focusing more on intermodal services. Yet, intermodality is only part of the solution. We must pass on the increased costs to our customers as a result of the amended sulphur regulations. Thus we are looking for alternatives combining rail and sea so that Stena Line can continue to offer competitive solutions”, he explains.
“With more direct trains to and from Kiel, we can however increase our freight volumes over sea”, says Christof Weichbrodt, also revealing that a future goal is to increase the combined traffic capacity in Kiel. “In order to be successful, we are depending on a development of combined traffic in the Port of Gothenburg as well”.
Weichbrodt’s vision is crystal clear: “In the future, we would like to see a well-serviced rail connection to and from the Port of Gothenburg which in turn would enable us to develop Kiel into a hub of the same importance as Rostock”, he concludes.