Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics transports everything that rolls – on ships and trucks, and with a great deal of logistical effort. So it’s very important for this services provider to keep the administration of its truck fleet lean – thanks to Daimler Financial Services and CharterWay.
Whenever Siegfried Krause crosses the Rhine River at the Iffezheim barrage near Baden-Baden, he feels he is returning to his second homeland. “I travel through France all the time. Sometimes I know more about the weather along the Côte d’Azur than about the weather outside my own home,” says Krause, a truck driver from Bretten in Baden-Württemberg, with a smile. As he talks, his Actros 1848 passes the first French street signs. Krause has three ex works tractors securely tied down on his semitrailer.
Sometimes I know more about the weather along the Côte d’Azur than about the weather outside my own home.”
Krause is one of the approximately 5,700 employees of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics. The present company is the result of the fusion of two Scandinavian shipping lines in 1999. Its core business is the provision of global transport and logistics solutions for manufacturers of cars, commercial vehicles, buses, and construction and agricultural machines. Its customers include almost all vehicle manufacturers, as well as car rental companies and operators of large vehicle fleets. In 2013 the company transported approximately six million vehicles in all.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen has a fleet of roll-on/roll-off ships for intercontinental transportation. “We manage the transshipment via our own 11 terminals,” says Konrad Kurz, the company’s Vice President responsible for the operation of the terminals and for land transportation via trains and trucks in the Europe business region. “We use approximately 310 trucks in Europe alone,” says Michael Berblinger, Director Transport & Logistics. The interview with these two managers is held in Ötigheim, Baden-Württemberg, from where half of the company’s trucks in Europe are dispatched.
The trucks often transport goods from a plant to a dealer. For example, Siegfried Krause loaded the tractors at their manufacturer in Mannheim and is bringing them to agricultural machinery dealers in Alsace-Lorraine. Other truck routes take goods to or from ships for transshipment, says Berblinger. “Trucks from Germany often come to our terminal in Zeebrugge, Belgium,” he says. “For their return trip, they load vehicles that have been brought to the terminal by ship.”
Wallenius Wilhelmsen also provides technical services for many manufacturers. “That includes initial inspections of ex works vehicles or small alterations made before vehicles are exported to certain countries, for example,” Kurz explains. This kind of work is done at processing centers, which are located either in the terminals or on the manufacturers’ premises. In some cases the processing centers are located on independent sites, and that requires additional transport. This wide variety of tasks means that the fleet has to be administered with maximum efficiency. One of the ways Wallenius Wilhelmsen achieves this degree of efficiency is thanks to its cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Bank. Trucks bearing the Mercedes star make up the major part of the company’s fleet, and for years now all of them have been procured with the help of Daimler Financial Services (DFS). “Flexibility is especially important for us, and we’ve got it with DFS,” says Kurz. He’s referring to the various procurement models that are available to DFS customers and to the flexible structuring of contracts, especially their duration.
Flexibility is especially important for us, and we’ve got it with DFS.
In 2014 Wallenius Wilhelmsen used leasing contracts to integrate almost 40 new Actros tractor-trailers and car transporters – all of them equipped with Euro VI engines – into its fleets in Germany and Poland. “For a fleet that is distributed across several countries, we have the advantage of operating internationally through our national subsidiaries,” says Fritz- Martin Hüttemann, a leasing and financing advisor at Mercedes-Benz Bank who has been working together for years with the decision-makers at Wallenius Wilhelmsen. The company also relies on Mercedes-Benz for maintenance and repairs, and it uses CharterWay Service Complete for all of its trucks. “We keep our fleet young. At the moment, the average age of our trucks is 1.7 years, and we resell our trucks after five years at the most,” Berblinger explains. This policy reduces the number of days the trucks spend at the workshop, and the trucks’ high quality is maintained. “If there is ever a problem, we can depend on the dense network of Mercedes-Benz workshops,” he adds. The network stretches throughout Europe, and that is very reassuring for Siegfried Krause and his colleagues, whether they’re working on the Côte d’Azur or somewhere else on the continent.