Haeger & Schmidt tagged to move concrete sleepers transport to Ireland
Ireland is renewing its rail infrastructure and large quantities of concrete sleepers are required for the track superstructure. As these sleepers are being imported from Germany, the iCargo Solutions division of Haeger & Schmidt Logistics (HSL) has been contracted to organise their transportation by coastal trading vessel until March 2024.
“As HSL, we are providing the entire logistics chain for this project from a single source, partly with our own assets. We are handling the transport sections by truck and coaster ourselves. The ships are provided by our joint venture HSW Logistics, a known specialist for European short sea transports,” emphasizes Markus Wirz, Project Manager of the iCargo Solutions Division.
The logistics concept includes transporting the sleepers by truck from the manufacturing plant in Neuss to the defined transhipment point directly at the quay in the Port of Antwerp. More than 10,000 sleepers can be stored there until the volume for the planned sea transport is reached. In shortsea transport, the main leg of the journey goes through the Channel to the Irish port of Foynes in County Limerick, where Irish Rail calls off the components as needed.
First of eight shipments
The first of eight ship loadings was completed in Antwerp where H&S Honesty loaded 7,840 sleepers. Wirz was assured by the vessel’s captain, Igor Filchakov, that under optimal weather conditions, the transport time is three days and four hours.
“The journey time and thus also the costs are much easier to calculate than with road transport,” Wirtz said, since truck ferry connections, traffic jams and shortages of skilled workers can quickly lead to delays.
In the current project, time is of the essence for Irish Rail. Its goal is to complete as many construction sites as possible by the time winter comes around. It counts on a reliable logistics chain of imports because Irish national manufacturing capacities are limited to 80,000 sleepers per year. The remaining demand is imported, mainly from Germany, which is known for its high-quality standards. During production, the sleepers are adapted to the Irish track width of 1,600 mm.
856 trucks VS eight shiploads
In addition to the reliability of the coasters, the customer was convinced by the sustainable transport concept. Wirz calculated the alternative solutions, “It was 856 truck transports versus eight shiploads for the transport of the 65,000 sleepers. Due to the truck weight restrictions, a maximum of 76 sleepers each 2.60 x 0.3 x 0.4 m (including rail fastening system) could be loaded onto a truck.”
According to the numbers, the logistics model that uses HSW coasters has proven to be more effective. Seven out of the total eight shiploads will be managed by H&S Honesty. These seven shiploads have a deadweight tonnage of 2,500 t and will be handled by H&S Honesty until March 2024. However, for the second shipload, which requires 10,840 sleepers to be delivered in one go, MS Wilson Leer from the Wilson fleet with a higher capacity of 3,500 t will be used. Wirz, the person in charge, foresees an increase in demand for logistics solutions due to the planned rail infrastructure measures in Europe, especially in the context of rail modernization.
The iCargo Solutions division, which was only founded at the beginning of the year, sees itself well-positioned for follow-up projects. Stefan Hütten, HSL Chief Development Officer, explains, “This case study exemplifies the strength and focus of our division. We implement holistic and sustainable logistics solutions from a single source for our customers with the inclusion of our growing network.”