The perks of combined transport: Kögel

An intermodal innovation at Kögel heralds the beginning of a new era for the ambitious trailer builder.

With a train loading at the combined transport terminal in Munich-Riem, Kögel has successfully demonstrated that the extended semi-trailer (long truck type 1) can also be transferred to all common pocket wagons in the latest generation with a length of 15 metres.

The latest generation of the Kögel EuroTrailer Cargo Rail (long truck type 1) that can be loaded on trains, with a total train length of 17.88 metres, can also be loaded onto all standard pocket wagons in accordance with the relevant regulations.

This applies to variants with body heights of 3,950mm (rail code P395) and 4,000mm (P400) or clear interior heights of 2,710mm and 2,760mm as well as folding underride protection. Kögel proved this during a test loading at the combined transport terminal in Munich-Riem. There, under the supervision of representatives of Deutsche Bahn, the EuroTrailer Cargo Rail was transferred to a type T3000 wagon with a support frame height of 980mm. This means that the EuroTrailer Cargo Rail can be used in conjunction with all modern pocket wagons (c, e, f, h, i).

The latest generation of the Kögel EuroTrailer is 1.38 metres longer than a standard semi-trailer and is therefore eight centimetres longer than the previous generation. The addition became possible with the validity of the 9th Amendment Ordinance to the Ordinance on Exceptions to Road Traffic Regulations for Oversized Vehicles and Vehicle Combinations.
Codification ensures that the trailer will fit within the envelope of each wagon and is identified with compatibility codes on the code number plate affixed to the body sidewall.

As a result, the EuroTrailer not only optimises CO2 emissions on the road by around 10 per cent compared to a conventional articulated lorry, but can also be used in environmentally friendly combined road-rail transport without any problems. Due to its high level of practicality, the extended semi-trailer is suitable for around half of all transports, in contrast to the 25.25-metre-long trucks of types 2 and 3, making it an extremely effective and immediately available tool in the fight against climate change. Kögel therefore advocates unlimited approval of the Type 1 long truck, as has already been decided for Types 2 and 3, and appeals to Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) to take the necessary steps.

In addition to this latest innovation, Kögel CEO, Christian Renners, shares more details in an exclusive interview with Global Trailer.

Kögel CEO, Christian Renners.

Q: What has business been like over the past 12 months? Are there any highlights or milestone achievements you would like to mention?
A: The last 12 months have been marked by extreme market volatility and the crises we are currently facing in Europe but also worldwide. Of course, we are still under the impact and shock of the Ukraine crisis. It is important to know that Kögel is traditionally strong in the Eastern European markets. With the loss of the Russian market, we had to focus on other markets. So far, we have been successful in this. This has enabled us to concentrate our sales activities primarily on Central and Southern Europe. Italy, in particular, is a market that we have built up very successfully. But we have also repositioned ourselves in the Baltic States and in the Alpine countries with our own organisation and strong partners.

Q: Any updates to facility capabilities, new investments, technologies?
A: We invest sustainably in the future of our company. And that’s what our shareholder Ulrich Humbaur is strongly emphasising by the way. In addition to building new facilities, we renovate old buildings. For example, we have recently invested in a completely new workshop hall on our premises in Burtenbach, Bavaria. In addition, there is a new training workshop, a photovoltaic system on the roof of the production facility and other investments in the future of Kögel that I do not want to reveal at this time. We have also invested heavily in our chassis production in Chocen, Czech Republic. Personnel was hired there, processes were streamlined and equipment was renewed. From this perspective, one can say: Kögel is optimally equipped for the future.

Q: How large is your aftersales network currently?
A: We currently have a Europe-wide service network of around 1,000 partners – 500 of which are located in Germany. In addition, there are also cooperation agreements with Mercedes Truck-Works, MAN Complete and Scania Deutschland. Depending on the degree of specialisation of our service partners, all trailer-related services are offered from inspections to brake repairs. The services offered by the individual service partners can be found on our website via service partner search.

Q: What was the feedback like for the ‘All Round’ concept at last year’s IAA Transportation? Are you seeing further uptake of telematics, full-service contracts and trading of used trailers?
A: The points you mentioned are exactly the business areas in which we want to grow in near future. The digitalisation and networking of our trailers will also have a significant influence on the business of our customers throughout Europe. That is why it is extremely important to define service as cost transparency and plannability. Intelligent trailer telematics, an analysis of life cycle costs and needs-based repair and maintenance contracts over the entire life of the product are indispensable.

Q: How is Kögel tracking with its quest to deliver sustainable transport solutions to give freight carriers that competitive edge and minimise their carbon footprint?
A: All sectors will change in the next five to 10 years in the direction of increased sustainability and economic efficiency; the energy crisis is already forcing us to do so. The transport industry must and will also become more sustainable. For us at Kögel, this means changing framework conditions, market requirements and customer needs. We respond to market challenges with innovation. It is in our DNA. Our company motto is ‘Economy meets Ecology – Because we care’. This means directly addressing and supporting customers as well as focusing on later benefits already during planning and development. We focus on weight reduction, TCO, digitalisation and electromobility. The expansion of multimodality is a Kögel speciality – hardly anyone can hold a candle to our experience and expertise. We serve the compatibility with transport requirements in road and rail transport with the first lightweight semi-trailer for combined transport.

Q: For 2023, what is your strategic focus?
A: We need to sharpen the Kögel profile even more. Intermodality, lightweight construction and efficient transport solutions are our core values and will play an important role in the logistics of tomorrow. Every customer in Europe and beyond should know what Kögel stands for.

Q: Is there a specific emerging trend that you are following closely?
A: In the field of energy-consuming temperature-controlled transport, we are working on solutions for CO2-free power supply. In this way, we make a significant contribution to reducing the ecological footprint of our customers. Kögel unveiled a CO2-free eCool refrigerated trailer last year at the IAA. During fully electric operation, the refrigeration unit requires no conventional fuel and does not emit any pollutants or CO2. Depending on the use of the trailer, the overall consumption of the semi-trailer combination can be reduced by two to three litres of diesel per 100 kilometres. This also means lower operating costs. Further benefits of the system include lower noise emissions and wear. As a result, the Kögel eCool is also suitable for night-time deliveries in inner cities and opens up additional business models and greater freedom in vehicle scheduling. In addition, the significantly quieter all-electric system ensures greater comfort and does not disturb the sleep of truck drivers at the rest area.

Q: We’re seeing an increase in demand for intermodal equipment and collaboration across all modes of transport in the supply chain. Do you have any comments to share about this trend?
A: The intermodality of freight transport is crucial for the continued existence of European transport. Transport routes are congested and long intracontinental road freight transports do not fit the goal of low-emission logistics. That is why I am all the more pleased to be working in a company that has a long tradition in the field of intermodal transport. We are already noticing that the demand is growing here. This is a very positive development that I personally welcome.

Q: Did Kögel encounter any new technical or compliance challenges with the design and build of this new trailer?
A: Our light is the new strong: The Kögel Lightplus Rail was presented as our Highlight at the IAA Transportation last year. It is the first lightweight trailer for combined transport. Despite the added payload of almost a ton, customers need not compromise on either functionality or handling. The Kögel Lightplus Rail offers a weight advantage of up to a ton compared with comparable standard versions, and thus combines the economic and ecological benefits of lightweight trailers using environmentally friendly rail transport.

Q: How complicated was the task to design a trailer for precise intermodal use? Any recent feedback from the trials?
A: It seems like squaring the circle to combine stability and lightweight. Kögel developers fundamentally revised the frame of the Kögel Cargo Rail and based the design on lightweight trailers from the Lightplus series. They succeeded in reducing the tare weight of the trailer significantly while retaining the same high load-bearing capacity by using high-strength steels, in particular, which provided the opportunity to reduce material thicknesses specifically.

Q: What is the sales potential of the Kögel Cargo Rail Euro Trailer?
A: The latest generation of the Kögel Euro Trailer measures 1.38 metres longer than a standard semi-trailer, eight centimetres more than the previous generation. The addition was made possible by the implementation of the 9th amendment to the Regulations on Exemptions from Road Traffic Law Provisions in Germany governing Overlength Vehicles and Vehicle Combinations. The codification ensures that the trailer fits into the swept envelope of the wagon and is identified with compatibility codes on the code number sign applied to the side wall of the body. This means that the Euro Trailer is proven not only to optimise CO2 emissions on the road by approximately ten percent compared with a conventional semi-trailer combination but can also be used without any problems in environmentally friendly combined road and rail transport. Thanks to its highly practical design, the extended semi-trailer is ideal for roughly half of all transport operations, in contrast to the 25.25-metre type 2 and 3 longer trucks.

Q: Are there other trailer designs or products we should mention?
A: Lots of them! For example, we can’t forget our container chassis, or our tipper trailer for construction. These are important segments that will continue to play a bigger role in the European markets in the future.

Q: Trade shows have proven to be as popular. Would you like to discuss any upcoming exhibitions and trailer displays?
A: We will talk to our customers in many of our core markets – in direct dialogue. Where we are present in associations or at trade fairs, we are in contact. The IAA Transportation in Hanover remains the most important trade fair for us, but the smaller trade fairs have also gained in quality. For example, Nufam in Karlsruhe and Solutrans in Lyon are important industry meetings for us at Kögel.

Send this to a friend