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A journey down the Rhine with Contargo

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Die Reise

The Rhine is one of the world‘s busiest waterways. It connects large conurbations and industrial centres. From the Rhine, inland vessels can penetrate on canals and tributaries deep into the European hinterland from the seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, reaching approximately 50 million people in its catchment area. In the Contargo Network, the Rhine is the main link between the seaports in the west and most of our terminals, the majority of which are served by our own barge transport lines. We will take you on a journey along the Rhine, stopping off at some of Contargo’s interesting locations.
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On its 1,232-kilometre journey to the sea, the Rhine touches eight European countries: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. The Contargo terminals along the “Rhein”,“Rhin” or “Rijn” link important economic and industrial regions with scheduled barge lines to almost all the terminals in the seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. Along this route, barges can maximise their advantages as a reliable, inexpensive and eco-friendly transport mode.
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Our journey begins in Basel, in the Rhine port of Kleinhüningen. Here the Rhine has already put 170 kilometres behind it, has crossed Lake Constance and has cascaded over the Rhine Falls to Schaffhausen. In the Middle Ages, Basel was already an important trade and handling centre for goods between the Mediterranean region and the North Sea.
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In the 19th century, the course of the Upper Rhine was straightened and forced into a fixed bed. This increased the speed of the current, so that although the Rhine was navigable the stretch between Strasbourg and Basel was at first considered impassable for large motorised vessels. Only in 1903 was Basel first reached by a steam tug. To make this part of the journey safer for shipping, the construction of a canal between Saint-Louis and Lauterbourg was commenced in 1928. Ever since its completion, shipping – and most of the water of the Rhine – have been directed along the parallel Rhine Canal, which is entirely in French territory. Today motorised vessels can complete the 832 kilometre journey downstream from Basel to Rotterdam in three to four days, and upstream in about one week.
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Barges underway for Contargo sail with high frequency and a steady speed. The average transit time between the western seaports and Basel is four days for export and five and a half days for import; between Rotterdam and Duisburg transit takes only one and a half days for export, and two and a half for import. Barges are a reliable transport mode, unaffected by traffic jams or Sunday driving bans.
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Legal Notice

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Contargo GmbH & Co. KG
August-Hirsch-Straße 3
47119 Duisburg
Deutschland
Freecall 00800 CONTARGO
info@contargo.net
 
Editing and design
Medienbüro am Reichstag GmbH
Reinhardtstraße 55
10117 Berlin
+49 30 30872993
contargo@mar-berlin.de

Translation: Anne Ray

Photo copyrights
P. 1, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 13 a, 14: © Braxart 2015
P. 4: © Contargo
P. 5: © Carsten Büll/vor-ort-foto.de
P. 5b: © Contargo/Moll
P. 7: © Contargo
P. 9: © Georg Lochner/Contargo
P. 9 a,c,d: © Manfred Rinderspacher
P. 12 a, b, c: © Rhein-Waal-Terminal GmbH
P. 13b: © Contargo
P. 13c: © Michel van Meurs/Contargo

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Contargo Basel

There are three ports on the Rhine at Basel: Birsfelden and Muttenz-Au are situated in the Canton of Basel-Land, only the Port of Kleinhüningen is in Basel City. In 2008 these three ports together were amalgamated as the Port of Switzerland. Today, more than ten percent of all Swiss imports from all over the world are handled here, after completing their journey along the Rhine from the seaports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Amsterdam.
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Basel occupies a very special position in Central Europe, directly on the Swiss borders to Germany and France. Around 1.3 million people live in this border triangle. Here Contargo Süd (Contargo South) has been founded, a cross-border alliance of Contargo’s terminals in Basel (Switzerland), Ottmarsheim and Strasbourg (both in France) and Weil am Rhein (Germany). Together they offer not only trimodal transports in the region, but also a comprehensive, coordinated range of container services.
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In the port of Kleinhüningen Contargo AG operates a trimodal container terminal. Here all types of goods are handled in containers, including dangerous goods and temperature-controlled goods. If the customer requires stuffing and stripping (loading and unloading the contents of containers) it can be carried out here. If sea carriers wish, they can keep their empty containers in the depot here and Contargo will also organise pre- and on-carriage to the seaports.
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The terminal in Basel is an important handling point for transferring containers delivered by rail or barge to trucks which will drive them to their final destination. In order to reduce the pressure on this potential bottleneck in combined transport, Contargo has developed an online login system that enables truckers to identify free slots and book them for themselves. By using this system Contargo has been able to speed up truck handling times and increase throughput in Basel.
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Contargo Wörth-Karlsruhe

Nowadays, agriculture and winegrowing are no longer the only characteristic features of the southern Rhineland-Palatinate and its neighbouring regions. As well as the truck manufacturer, many automotive suppliers have settled in the European region of Pamina (South Palatinate, Baden and Alsace). From the ports in Wörth and Karlsruhe wood, mechanical engineering products, paper, printed products and building materials set out to destinations all over the world.


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The trimodal terminals of Contargo Wörth-Karlsruhe GmbH organise the transport of containers by barge, rail or truck. A total of four berths for barges and six rail sidings are available for handling, including the handing of dangerous goods and reefers (temperature-controlled containers). Both terminals act as official depots for many sea carriers. Container maintenance and repair can be carried out if required. Contargo Wörth-Karlsruhe also offers stuffing and stripping , and keeps suitable handling equipment and trained personnel available for this purpose.
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A service that is unusual for Contargo is provided here: the loading of heavy items and rolling cargo. These can be loaded aboard barges fast and safely via RORO ramps. Heavy, oversize crates can be brought to the terminals by road on low-loaders. Once there, they are loaded onto special containers and secured in place as necessary for sea transport later on. The versatile range of services offered by Contargo Wörth-Karlsruhe GmbH is completed by the loading and unloading of trucks onto trains. The trucks are mounted on “pans” which are transferred onto open wagons using special loading equipment.
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Speyer

In Speyer, Contargo Wörth-Karlsruhe GmbH operates a Container Yard for Daimler AG. This is the first project in which Contargo has gone to a customer’s location and has provided a team, equipment and special IT applications specifically for this assignment.
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The manufacture of a single automobile requires up to 20,000 different parts, and these need to be in the right place at the right time. Another complicating factor is that manufacturers’ stocks are increasingly being cut to a minimum. This steps up the pressure on logistics to supply individual parts and modules just-in-time. Thus when it comes to optimising logistics processes, automotive logistics is very apt to innovate, and is an important giver of impulses for other areas of logistics.
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South of Speyer, Daimler AG has a Logistics Center in which production material from suppliers is bundled and sent abroad to Mercedes-Benz’s big automotive works in China, South Africa and the USA. Every week several hundred sea containers need to be transported by barge or rail to the seaports of Antwerp and Bremerhaven.
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Contargo Wörth-Karlsruhe GmbH operates the Container Yard on a two-shift system. The service provider organises the depot on-site and is responsible for supplying containers punctually to the 50 hall gates of the Consolidation Center. There, import containers are unloaded with empty load carriers and export containers are loaded. Contargo also carries out the transport of the containers by truck from the Consolidation Center to the barge and rail terminal in the region, as well as trucking particularly urgent deliveries direct to the seaport.
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Contargo Rhein-Neckar

Where Rhine and Neckar meet, one of Germany’s largest industrial areas has grown up. This is where Contargo Rhein-Neckar GmbH operates– close to its customers with its terminals in Ludwigshafen’s Kaiserwörthhafen and Mannheim’s Handelshafen. These terminals link the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region and the European hinterland with the western and northern seaports.
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There is a lot of room for containers at the Contargo terminals in Mannheim and Ludwigshafen: each site has depot space for 8,800 TEU. Handling is performed at present by a total of six cranes and five mobile devices. In 2017 an additional crane and another mobile device will come into operation in Mannheim. In autumn 2016 a new container repair and maintenance hall, a combined washing and filling centre and office and social units for the industrial employees were constructed at the Mannheim site, and at the same time the whole terminal was equipped with energy-saving LED lighting technology – as already installed in Ludwigshafen.
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Contargo Rhein-Neckar provides customers with a complete service for their containers: the enterprise not only organises handling, storage and multimodal transport services; it also arranges round trips and deals with customs formalities. And container maintenance and repair can be carried out on the spot.
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The handling and interim storage of dangerous goods of almost all classes is part of day-to-day business at Contargo Rhein-Neckar – and dealing with reefers, too, is just part of a day’s work. Reefers carry temperature-sensitive goods like pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, or foods such as fruit, potatoes, deep-frozen meat, pizza and ice-cream. Because the transport of temperature-controlled containers is on the increase, additional reefer slots are being constructed in Mannheim just now.
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DIT

For more than 100 years, steel and slag from the Krupp steel mill were shipped in the port of Rheinhausen. After the mill closure in 1993, a state-of-the-art logistics centre arose here in 1999. In 2002 the Duisburg Intermodal Terminal opened its gates. The most important cargo here is still steel – but now it’s steel in the form of containers, laden with all kinds of goods.
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The Duisburg Intermodal Terminal connects the European hinterland trimodally with the western seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, but it also provides a rail link with South-Eastern Europe and countries as far afield as Russia and China. Six rail sidings and three barge berths,  four cranes, five reach stackers and two empty stackers are used to handle the containers arriving there – including dangerous goods containers and reefers.
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In the hinterland behind the big North Sea ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, Duisburg Intermodal Terminal has plenty of room for all services to do with containers. There is space here for 10,000 TEU, meaning that Contargo is able to operate a big empty container depot for numerous sea carriers. If required, customers can get additional services here like maintenance and repair, or the stuffing and stripping of containers.
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Rhein-Waal-Terminal

Today the land between the Ruhr and the Dutch border, previously characterised by coal, steel and agriculture, benefits from its advantageous position between the Benelux countries and the metropolitan region of Cologne, Düsseldorf and the Ruhr. The well-developed road, water and air infrastructure, and the many available sites for new developments and relocation make the region interesting both for the manufacturing industry and for logistics. Contargo is present here with Contargo Rhein-Waal-Lippe GmbH at two locations: Emmerich and Voerde-Emmelsum.
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Situated close to the Dutch border, the Contargo Rhein-Waal-Lippe terminal in Emmerich is closer than any other German inland port to the western seaports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Antwerp. The main catchment area includes the Lower Rhine, Münsterland, the western Ruhr region and the neighbouring areas of Liemers and Achterhoek in the Netherlands.
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The terminal in Emmerich has two berths for barges, two rail sidings, and space for 3,500 TEU. Dangerous goods containers and reefers are also handled. The terminal acts, for instance, as the hub for the Basel Multimodal Express, which connects Basel with the seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp on a fixed schedule of three round trips per week. Barges provide a shuttle service between the western seaports and Emmerich. The containers are transported in fast overnight rail transit between Emmerich and Basel. Transports between Basel and the hinterland are carried out by truck.
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Rhein-Maas-Delta

With a fleet of 40 motor vessels and push barges, Contargo transports large volumes of containers between the North Sea ports and the European hinterland. Contargo Waterway Logistics in Zwijndrecht is responsible for the coordination of barge activities. Regular, scheduled barge lines link the sea terminals in Rotterdam and Antwerp with the terminals along the Rhine. Under the name Transbox United, Contargo also offers container transport between Antwerp and Rotterdam as well as in the three Benelux countries. Barge transport is reliable and flexible. In the event of low water, Contargo can deploy vessels on other shipping routes or hire additional tonnage. If water levels make inland navigation impossible, consignments are transported by road or rail in consultation with the customer.
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Forwarders who want their containers to be directly at their disposal often decide in favour of direct trucking. Trucking from the seaport to the customer is a fast, flexible solution. Thanks to its extensive network and loading volume, Contargo can offer this service on a one-way basis. The fleet of approximately 100 modern trucks is currently being expanded. The direct trucking services from the western seaports are coordinated by Contargo Road Logistics in Zwijndrecht.
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Whatever the customer’s requirements regarding the cost and speed of transport, Contargo has the right solution. The team in Zwijndrecht is the contact point for container transports to and from the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. Our employees regulate all transport activities within and outside the Contargo network. They coordinate barge and truck transports, make bookings for Contargo rail shuttles and deal with the complete documentation.
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