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Samskip flats moving into new geographical areas

Samskip Multimodal Container Logistics can draw upon 30 years of experience operating flatrack equipment between the Benelux, Germany, the UK and Ireland. Now that experience is being made available to a wider network of customers.


Since the beginning of 2009 Samskip has expanded its flatrack services to cover new trade lanes to include Italy, Iberia, Norway, the Baltic States as well as Eastern Europe. By extending its geographical coverage, Samskip is enabling more shippers to utilise the advantages of its multimodal transport network by being able to accommodate cargo with overhead or side loading requirements.

Niels Tolstrup, director in charge of the flatrack department, explains:

“With a fleet of 500 flatracks, Samskip has for many years proven itself to be a reliable partner for those companies whose shipments needed to be moved on this type of equipment. With such a stable and solid operation in place, we were ready to start exploiting new geographical areas within the Samskip Multimodal network. During the past six months, we have established and tested a number of new trade lanes and have received a very good market response.

“We have seen that the market appreciates the possibility to develop more environmentally friendly multimodal transport solutions for cargoes that cannot be loaded into containers. And moving cargo from road to multimodal transport brings not only environmental advantages but also interesting cost advantages. Flatracks can be collapsed and locked together, up to five in one stack for transport as a single unit. This saves empty repositioning and mileage, making sure a competitive price can be offered.

“Flats also allow transport not only by sea and road, but also by rail and river barge, again reducing costs. Since many cargoes suited to flats are of relatively low value and/or not especially time sensitive, this is a significant factor since transport costs often form a major part of the delivered price of the goods.”

Concrete slabs to Scotland

In June/July 2009, Samskip moved 143 flats with concrete slabs from a factory in the Czech Republic to the site of a new parking complex in Scotland. When selecting the transport solution for this challenging project the customer looked at various transport options such as trailers using the road and ferry. However Samskip’s flatrack solution via rail and short sea turned out to be most competitive in term of cost efficiency and was able to meet the customer’s just in time requirements. The project was a major success; an opinion shared by all parties involved.

Niels Tolstrup explains the challenges:

“The cargo’s tight fit in terms of dimensions and a zero-breakage target on such a long haul tested our professionalism. The just-in-time production process required immediate delivery and back-up plans to be in place for any scenario possibly causing delays in delivery. Direct and frequent contact with hauliers, the railway, the client, and the site itself, as well as full internal control on all transport modes by our specialised central team have paid off. This project is a prime example of where dedication, professionalism and customer orientation all come together.”

About the organisation of the flatrack activities, Niels Tolstrup says:

“At Samskip we have organised our flatrack activities within a specialised business unit. This is based in the Samskip headquarters building in Rotterdam, close to the operational organisation of the total Samskip Multimodal network.

“The planning and handling of oversized cargo and project cargo requires expertise and special attention. By having a dedicated team in place, we can give optimal operational guidance as well as first-class customer service. The flats team works closely together with the Samskip staff in our local offices. This close relationship ensures a continuous exchange of know-how and enhances Samskip’s expertise and high service level.”

About flatracks

Flatracks are ideal for transporting over-length, over-width and over-height cargo. Lashing facilities reflect the fact that they are often used to carry very large and heavy pieces of cargo and plastic sheeting and tarpaulins are available to provide weather protection.

The equipment can be loaded from the top, end and the side, with the maximum cargo weights determined according to local regulations and modes of transport. Examples of cargo that are frequently transported by flatrack equipment include:

· Steel (pipes, rails, coils, bars)

· Machinery (packed, unpacked)

· Timber (sawn, logs, sleepers)

· Stone (bricks, slates, slabs, marble)

· Vehicles (cars, chassis and fork-lifts)

· Waste (under licence only!)

· Project cargo (windmills, yachts, water tanks, silos, power stations, finished concrete and much more).

About Samskip Multimodal Container Logistics

Samskip Multimodal Container Logistics operates an extensive pan-European transport service network of short sea, rail, road and barge connections. Containers are moved between 30 countries ranging from Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland in the north to Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the south and central Europe.

Samskip operates a wide fleet of container equipment. The main emphasis is with 45ft palletwide containers but the company also offers 20ft and 40ft boxes as well as 45ft reefer and curtainsided containers. With its high frequency of sailings, the wide coverage of its multimodal network and its 33-pallet-capacity 45ft containers, Samskip provides a very competitive and environmental friendly alternative to road transport.

Samskip Multimodal Container Logistics & flatracks

Traditionally, Samskip has always offered flats to its customers and inherited significant business and a matching equipment fleet when it acquired Seawheel in 2005. Samskip now operates a fleet of 500 flatracks in different sizes such as 20ft, 30ft, 40ft as well as recently developed 45ft flat racks. The new trade lanes for the Samskip flats include Italy, Iberia, Norway, Baltic States and Eastern Europe besides the traditional areas of Benelux. Germany, Ireland and UK.

For further information contact David Cheslin, Dunelm Public Relations davidcheslin@dunelmpr.co.uk Tel: +44 (0) 20 7345 5233