Sue is excited. It's the first time ever she has managed to get hold of tickets for the Wimbledon Championships, and of course she is hoping her fellow Brit Andy Murray wins the men's title. In true British style, she makes the journey from her flat in Paddington to the worldfamous tennis tournament in her new MINI Countryman.
Sue is very proud of her purchase. She had to save up for ages so that she could afford to buy the new edition of the classically British, five-door dream car. When she ordered her MINI Countryman, she didn't really give it much thought when she heard that the cult brand now belonged to BMW and certainly wasn't aware of the journey involved in delivering it to her. While it is true that large numbers of MINI Coopers roll off the production line in the UK, the Countryman is not one of them.
To ensure that Sue and her fellow car enthusiasts are able to enjoy the experience of driving the Countryman, BMW first has to transport the vehicles across the North Sea, and it's at this point that we are involved, doing everything we can to facilitate the logistical process on behalf of our customer. In the German port city of Cuxhaven, Cuxport provides a fast and reliable land-sea link. The short distances involved – just 400 metres between the railhead and the quayside – facilitate highly efficient transshipment.
Cuxport's structural qualities were no doubt a crucial factor in BMW's decision to use this route. The company also appreciates our customer focus and our ability to identify needs and respond to them quickly.
Initially, our role in Cuxhaven was as a contractor for the marine freight company that carried BMW's vehicles across to the United Kingdom. Although at this point we had no direct link with the carmaker, that was soon to change for the long term. When BMW AG issued a new invitation to tender covering its entire transport chain from Germany to the UK, it decided to nominate Cuxport as its direct contractual partner in order to safeguard its capacity and in particular its investment in a fully automated vehicle wash system and additional rail tracks.
This meant that up to 700 cars arriving in Cuxhaven every day on open rail carriages can be given a special wash required by BMW and then loaded directly onto the ship with hardly any loss of time. From then on, under this flexible arrangement, cars produced at the company's factories in Southern Germany could be transported to Cuxport by rail on open or closed carriages.
That was the starting point for a close relationship between Rhenus and BMW. As a reliable business partner, we have since been given responsibility for the valuable export consignments from the moment the vehicles arrive at the railhead until they are loaded onto the ship. The cars are now cleaned in our 75-metre-long washing facility. If necessary, we also check tyre pressures and batteries.
As well as our attention to vehicle maintenance, BMW are impressed by our process management expertise. As soon as the fully laden carriages leave the factory we know exactly which consignment will arrive in Cuxhaven at what time, and we make sure the corresponding resources are available. Unloading the cars from the trains is now faster and easier thanks to a new section of rail track and additional ramps. So far, over 1.3 million BMWs have made the journey to Britain's east coast through Rhenus Cuxport, including of course Sue's MINI Countryman.
Sue loves her MINI Countryman. She also has a bit of a weakness for fizzy drinks and makes sure she has a can of her favourite brand with her at all times. Sue is well aware of her responsibility to the environment and always puts the empty can into the recycling bin. If she were in Germany, she would take it to the reverse vending machine and get back the deposit she paid when she bought it. Once again, she would come across Rhenus. Many of Germany's reverse vending machines were installed and put into operation by our High-Tech division. The action of inserting an empty can launches our material flow logisticssystem, which arranges, among other things, for the recycling of valuable materials.