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DB Cargo says it will equip its entire fleet of freight cars with intelligent sensors and telematics by 2020. In total, DB Cargo has a fleet of around 68,000 cars. The company has now reached the half-way milestone: the 34,000th freight car has been equipped with modern telematics and intelligent sensors in Seelze, near Hanover. DB Cargo estimates that it will complete the project to turn its freight cars digital by 2020. It is investing a sum approaching 100 million euros.

DB Cargo’s Intelligent Freight Car

Equipping freight cars with GPS and sensors is very advantageous for DB Cargo customers. To turn the analogue freight cars fully digital, DB Cargo is installing a telematics module, GPS, and RFID and NFC tags. The freight car will then use the telecommunications network to send signals en route. It will also do this during events such as starting, stopping and bumping. The information gathered in this way will provide valuable insights into the condition of the cargo, the temperature, the relative humidity and the movement of fragile freight.

Marek Staszek, Member of the Management Board for Production at DB Cargo, said:

“Intelligent freight cars make rail freight more modern and fit for the future. Our customers benefit from more controllable logistics chains, a higher quality of transports and arrival times that can be planned. Our aim is to shift more traffic to the more environmentally friendly rail freight option and make our contribution to a strong railway in Germany and Europe.”

One of DB Cargo’s customers, Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, produces flat-rolled steel products. It was positive about DB Cargo’s investment in digital, intelligent freight cars. Dr Jürgen Harland, Head of Logistics and Supply-Chain Management at Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, said:

“Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH is very dependent on efficient logistics in its value chain. Digitalising our business processes with a focus on being connected, having real-time access and on keeping quality and service high is becoming more and more important. The ‘intelligent freight car’ finally closes the digital gap on the rails. Thanks to the new data, prognoses will be enriched and improved in the future, because they don’t just provide information about a shipment, they also give information about quality.”

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