Home Industries Transport & Logistics ERS Railways Interviews ERS Railways B.V.

ERS Railways B.V.

Albert Plesmanweg 61 3088 HH Rotterdam Netherlands
+31 10 4285200 +31 10 4942848

ERS Railways B.V.

Interview with Frank Schuhholz, Managing Director of ERS Railways

ERS Railways B.V.

When and by whom was the company founded?

Frank Schuhholz: European Rail Shuttle B.V. was founded in 1994 as a joint venture between the companies Sealand Service, P & O Containers, Nedlloyd and NS Cargo. These four companies were aiming to cooperate in order to take full advantage of the liberalization process in Europe which started the same year. Pretty soon after the start of the joint venture, NS Cargo decided to step out, being replaced by Maersk Line joining the three other shipping lines. In 2013 the company became a fully owned subsidiary of Freightliner Group.

Is there a company slogan? What is it?

Frank Schuhholz: The company slogan is as follows: Customer Driven Rail Solutions

What products make up your core business?

Frank Schuhholz: ERS Railways is one of the leading railway undertakings in the growing European intermodal transport market with five offices in four countries across Europe. With our fleet of modern e-locomotives and over 400 leased container platform wagons as well as double pocket wagons, capable of carrying (mega) trailers. We connect via our maritime rail transport networks major European ports like Rotterdam, Bremerhaven and Hamburg with the European hinterland. Through operating intermodal trains, we deliver services to our customers using all kinds of Intermodal Transport Units (ITUs) like maritime, reefer and tank containers, swap bodies as well as standard and mega trailers. In addition to this strategic pillar of our business model, we also provide traction services in various countries for our customers based on highly reliable shuttle train concepts.

What problems do you solve for your customers?

Frank Schuhholz: Our short sea and Continental European products interconnect major industrial regions, serving customers’ needs for highly reliable thus sustainable intermodal supply chain solutions. Our teams will provide customers with services that match their requirements. Our offer can be based on current corridors and products, or it can be fully tailored to meet the needs of the customers in terms of geographical coverage, volumes or contract duration, enabling the customers to gain a competitive edge in their railway-based supply chains.

What certifications does your company possess?

Frank Schuhholz: As from February 2012, the Netherlands Customs Authorities had made ERS Railways B.V an AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) Certification for its operations in Poland, Germany and the Netherlands. We have so far been granted railway licenses in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria. We plan to expand into more European countries and obtain our own license in these countries in order to secure growth and promote ERS Railways’ expansion strategy.

How do you reach your target group(s)?

Frank Schuhholz: We as ERS Railways have been active for 20 years in the intermodal market and therefore are pretty much known within the industry. To further strengthen our position, we have a sales team of eight people active in our core countries, exploring opportunities and establishing contacts with customers who are not yet familiar with our company. In addition, we are active via publications in magazines, newspapers and the Internet (own website, forums) as well as via linked and Twitter.

Can you characterize what your customers expect from your company and what your customers focus on (service, pricing, innovations, product quality)?

Frank Schuhholz: Customers new to railway-based services expect the same quality, flexibility and costs as they are used to when deploying road-based solutions. Whilst costs are always the topic number one, other items like service and also green logistics have become a more important topic in the meantime. All those areas we think we have proper answers to even when this means that sometimes we have to say “no” to a request simply because we cannot match the requirements given by the party interested in using our services. On the other hand, we also start thinking on behalf of the customers along the respective supply chains and try to identify what will be their future needs. Based on such an approach, we can cross check with potentially interested parties whether there is a match or a mismatch of interests.

What makes your company a success (recipe for success)? What are your strengths?

Frank Schuhholz: Focus on core activities within intermodal rail transport, managing the last mile as well as the long-haul stretch. Deploying through running multisystem electric locomotives wherever possible. Using the latest developments within our wagon fleet like megatrailer capable double pocket wagons as well as silent brakes for part of our wagons. Furthermore, we are striving to build up robust and thus seamless processes in order to stay competitive with other modes of transport. Strong elements within our company are that we are flexible when it comes to changes in day-to-day operations as well as during planning processes for new products in order to anticipate the latest developments within the railway industry. Supply chain management oriented thinking rather than a railway-based approach is appreciated by our customers.

What is your corporate structure? Are there other subsidiaries/branch offices?

Frank Schuhholz: ERS Railways BV is headquartered in Rotterdam and has branch offices in Germany and Poland as well as in the Czech Republic.

Are there important cooperation partners or exclusive partnerships?

Frank Schuhholz: We cooperate closely with railway undertakings like Wiener Lokal Bahnen on the Germany-Austria hinterland corridor, BLS Cargo on Rotterdam to Melzo as well as Duisburg to Italy, and Rail Cargo Austria on transport routes between Duisburg and the German Austrian border.

How many employees does your company have in total?

Frank Schuhholz: 110 employees

How are they distributed among the departments/divisions?

Frank Schuhholz: 25 own loco drivers, 85 working in office functions

Do you have stated company guidelines? If so, what are they?

Frank Schuhholz: Yes, we do, but we would like to not reveal them.

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