The delivery of new commercial vehicles across Europe is becoming more challenging as the size and configuration of the cabs changes, combined with pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of the logistics process.
“As the cabins became more spacious, it also became more complex to transport them by traditional means of truck transportation. The lone option was to transfer them on their own axle, which was unwelcome by new truck purchasers. By using low-floor wagons, vehicles up to a height of four meters may be shipped. Through the support of this new transportation solution, we’ve progressively received development assignments for combined solutions, including Ro/Ro shipments,” says Salzburg-based transport firm VEGA International Car Transport and Logistic Trading. Founded in 1990 by five shareholders who had previously worked in different sectors of the transportation and logistic industry, VEGA’s primary area of expertise has been in transporting new trucks. The company uses custom-made low-floor vehicles.
Clients include many of the main truck and bus manufacturers, such as Irisbus, Astra, DAF Trucks, EVOBus, Iveco, Isuzu, MAN, Mercedes Benz, Renault Trucks, Scania, Volvo and Solaris. VEGA employs over 700 experienced drivers across Europe who deliver vehicles and trailers. “The delivery of commercial vehicles on their own axle becomes more important as the dimensions of the new trucks make loading almost impossible. The high flexibility, shorter delivery times, and having sufficient capacity for larger volumes are additional advantages for this kind of transportation,” explains VEGA, which also has over 20 tractors for the transportation of new or used trailers. For large volumes, VEGA works with a specialist rail company that has its own fleet of rail wagons that operate across Europe. The low-floor wagons can carry vehicles with a height of up to four meters.
VEGA is a member of the European Car Transport Group of Interest or ECG. Through this, it has access to a large fleet of special trailers available to transport passenger cars and commercial vehicles. “This partnership enables our company to serve all European destinations and beyond. By the use of innovative long haul solutions and adequate pre and post carriage solutions, we are able to transport large volumes,” says the company.
Vehicles are also ferried by sea. An example is Turkey, where more than 4,000 buses have been transported via Ro/Ro from the country to Europe. After landing in Europe, these large vehicles are transported on their own axles. Another example is a Dutch manufacturer which ships over 10,000 vehicles to the Middle East annually. VEGA makes use of road, rail and ship to transport vehicles to the Middle East from the Netherlands.
The other important aspect of VEGA’s solutions is its focus on eco-consciousness. The company tries to use rail transport and multimodal solutions as much as possible. VEGA serves markets in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It has hubs in Salzburg and Ulm in Germany, Ghent in Belgium and Istanbul in Turkey. The company has a system to constantly check the condition of vehicles it transports called the “VEGA Vehicle Condition Report,” which helps keep continuous control on vehicles.
Automotive Industries asked Franz Blum, general manager VEGA International Car Transport and Logistic Trading, what differentiates the company in the field of commercial vehicle transportation.
Blum: We try to combine different truck and trailer customers to similar destinations in order to be as cost efficient as possible, and to reduce emissions and stop waste.
AI: What are some of the challenges in transporting large vehicles across the globe?
Blum: The volatility of the volumes is the biggest problem we face.
AI: Has VEGA expanded its global footprint in the last five years – please give details.
Blum: Major developments have been the strengthening of our Russian activities after the European financial crises, and the opening of a contact office in Baku/Azerbeidjan to develop Central Asia business. There are plans to expand into Brazil in the near future.
AI: What are some of the issues in transporting vehicles in emerging economies – do you have a presence in these regions?
Blum: We are strong in Turkey, as well as in Russia. The biggest challenge there is to cope with big volumes for project customers.
AI: Tell us about VEGA’s initiative to increase the use of more environmentally friendly options in the transport of vehicles.
Blum: Every transport solution is evaluated on its CO2 footprint, and the lowest footprint option is selected provided that it is also offers cost efficiency.
AI: What are some of the new products/solutions you plan to launch in the near-term?
Blum: A combination of different customer combinations and products (truck/trailer/cargo) to the off the most efficient cost and lowest CO2 footprint.
AI: How would you describe the current state of the auto transport and logistics industry?
Blum: The financial economic crisis has lowered the investment mood, and the industry has not been able to pass the cost increases of the last few years on to the customers. Therefore, margins remain too low for the necessary equipment replacement and investment.