In the realm of the giants

The Reich shipping company from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern operates long combinations with two semitrailers that can be connected with a dolly. Up to the port, they are driven separately in Germany – with two tractor units. Only in Finland do they become such long combinations.

In 2018, when he was just 18 years old, the young entrepreneur Philipp Reich founded his transport and forwarding company in Vimfow (Ludwigslust-Parchim district / Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania). Since then, the business has flourished, and the entrepreneur-led company has been growing steadily. Reich now employs around 50 people and operates a proud fleet of 100 semitrailers. In 2022, the fleet has been expanded by another ten tractor units. Many of the more than 300 regular customers come from Central Europe, especially from Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Germany. The cargoes frequently go to Finland.

Schmitz Cargobull, based in Altenberge near Münster, has so far delivered around 100 EcoDuos, including some to the Reich shipping company.

Confusion about long truck combinations

Basically, there are different regulations for permissible total weight and vehicle length. In Scandinavia, the focus is on fuel and C02 savings. Vehicle manufacturer Schmitz Cargobull has developed the extra-long truck called “EcoDuo”. The impressive combination consists of two semitrailers, dolly axles for connection, and reaches a maximum overall length of 32 meters. This far exceeds the 25.25 m long trucks now permitted on approved routes in Germany. Reich took delivery of the first EcoDuo in Germany. In the meantime, four such combinations are in operation, although they have not yet been approved for use in Germany. In Germany, the semitrailers continue to remain individually attached behind tractor units and thus reach the Baltic ports in Rostock and Travemünde. Without tractor units, the Schmitz Cargobull curtainsiders reach the destination port in Helsinki by ferry, and are connected to become a long truck by the receiving forwarder TS Logistics Oy by means of a dolly, arriving at their destination 600 km away with just one tractor unit. In the northbound direction, machine parts for the automotive industry are loaded, and on the return journey, timber is transported.

Since the extra-long truck combinations are not allowed in Germany, the original can only be spotted with a Finnish tractor unit, unlike the Herpa model.

The situation in Finland

Two large semitrailers do not make sense if the total weight of 40 metric tons remains the same. In Finland, these combinations are permitted at 40 plus 30 metric tons for a two-axle tractor unit, or 40 plus 36 metric tons for a three-axle tractor unit. The EcoDuo’s environmental balance sheet is significantly better over long distances. Once cruising speed is reached, the higher vehicle weight no longer has such an impact on consumption. The manufacturer from Altenberge near Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia has so far delivered around 100 EcoDuos to Scandinavia and Spain. The Reich shipping company can imagine to extend their number of its own truck combinations to ten.

Text: Frank Hadel
Photos: Transport & Speditionsunternehmen Philipp Reich und Dennis Mauritz