German steel haulage firm plans more post-Covid digitalisation

Germany’s largest road haulage company for steel transport, Hergarten, feels it will emerge from the coronavirus crisis in a stronger position than before, thanks to its efforts with digitalising processes.

“We have been lucky that we had all major internal processes moved to the cloud in time before the coronavirus crisis came on,” says managing director Marcel Hergarten. The company, therefore, has further digitalisation projects planned for the time after Covid-19. Personnel and vehicle files will be available online in the future, and the telematics and merchandise management systems of the company and its business partners will be synchronised.

The digitalisation started some ten years ago, and over the years was pushed to cushion the notorious lack of skilled personnel in the transportation sector. “The enormous value-added of digitalisation for a medium-sized company like us, despite initial costs and efforts for integration, has never become clearer than now,” Hergarten says.

On the competition of Uber Freight, which started its services in Germany last year, the company sees little danger for local transportation groups, which are highly specialised. “For us, such app-based providers can even be a sensible addition at times,” Kallanish hears from Hergarten. For example, the company frequently uses Europe’s largest freight exchange, Timocom, for bookings to offer space for return trips to avoid unladen journeys.

Based in Cologne and Düsseldorf, Hergarten operates 180 trucks with 300 employees, plus warehouses with steel processing facilities.