Three questions for … Lutz Meyer
Logistics Manager at Volkswagen Motorsport
As you celebrate your 20th anniversary with Volkswagen, the record attempt on Tianmen Mountain throws up a new challenge, as far as logistics are concerned. What are the challenges?
Lutz Meyer: “China is indeed uncharted territory for us, from a logistics perspective. And transporting the material by rail is also a first for Volkswagen Motorsport. Sending the ID.R to Tianmen Mountain on the back of a train is the best solution for us. The fact that it will be travelling electrically is perfectly in line with our concept. This minimises the amount of time spent on roads. It is hardly possible to complete a journey like this with fewer emissions.”
What are the peculiarities when a load like the ID.R crosses seven time zones and six countries on rails, travelling a quarter of the way around the earth in the process?
“Although the journey goes through Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and China, the customs process is surprisingly simple: our containers leave Europe and receive their exit stamp in Poland, and are then given an entry stamp at the Chinese border. The freight will switch rail systems twice – and in less than three weeks, it will reach its destination. When you consider the 11,000-kilometre route and the extremely varied landscape, that is truly remarkable.”
Is this means of transport safe and secure? After all, the ID.R is a prototype and the product of a lot of expertise …
“The railway is an extremely reliable transport solution. Furthermore, the entire journey will be monitored and GPS ensures that we know where our containers are at all times. Data is transmitted to us at regular intervals, which allows us to know if any light has penetrated the container, as well as the temperature and humidity inside the container.”
1The Hamburg-Chongqing railway line, which spans over 10,490.35 kilometres, is 97% electrified. Only a short section of about 300 kilometres in Kazakhstan is not electrically drivable.