The parcel service provider GLS Germany is currently testing parcel delivery by rail as part of its sustainability strategy “Climate Protect”. In a pilot project running until the end of January, up to 1,000 parcels a day will be sent by train from Nuremberg to Hanover.
This is the first time that GLS transports parcels by freight train on a significant scale. “The thoughts had been there for a long time, and we have worked out this pilot project in corresponding detail,” explains GLS regional manager Melanie Menkhaus, who is responsible for northern Germany. “After smaller pilot tests in earlier years, we hope above all to gain new insights and measured values regarding the low-emission long-distance transport of our parcels.” Work is already underway to expand to additional routes in Germany.
Shifting parcel volumes to rail will play an increasingly important role in the future as part of GLS’ sustainability ambitions. This can save up to 80 percent of the emissions in transport. Chief Operating Officer Achim Dünnwald explains: “The issue of sustainability is playing an increasingly important role for our customers and partners. Coupled with our own sustainability goals, we are taking this development into account, we are glad to go down innovative paths and are fulfilling our responsibility to society.”
Currently, around 600 e-vehicles are on the road every day in over 50 German cities on behalf of GLS. In addition to investments in the “last mile”, GLS is also working hard on sustainable concepts for long-distance transport. To implement the pilot project, GLS is working with Kombiverkehr KG, one of the largest providers of intermodal transport in Germany and Europe. The Frankfurt-based company enables GLS to book free parking spaces for individual containers, which are transported in a climate-friendly way via the rail network. “Already with the round trip of one container with a load weight of six tonnes, 350 kilograms of CO2 are saved on the 440 rail kilometres between Hanover and Nuremberg with 100 per cent electric traction. Projected over the year, this corresponds to around 85 tonnes of carbon dioxide that are not emitted. With every container that GLS brings by rail in the future, the customer requirements for green parcel transport are thus met,” says Kombiverkehr Managing Director Alexander Ochs.
The route between Nuremberg and Hanover was chosen as a test route because surrounding GLS depots are directly accessible at both the starting point and the destination. At present, only non-time-critical shipments are loaded. DB Cargo AG is responsible for the traction of the train.
Source: GLS Germany