Press Release 15 Jun 2020

Contargo takes delivery of a hybrid truck for use on the test track in Hesse with overhead lines  

Offenbach, 15 June 2020 – On 10 June container hinter­land logistics network Contargo took delivery of a hybrid truck by Scania for use with electrified overhead lines. The truck is the third of five vehicles to be tried out on the test track in Hesse. As a transport partner in this field trial, Contargo wants to support the scientific investigation of alternative drives, thus coming a step closer to decarbonisation by 2050.

The vehicle is the Scania El Fondo, which can approach the motorway using a classic diesel drive. One year ago, in the ELISA Project, a five-kilometre section of the A5 between Langen/Mörfelden and Darmstadt/Weiterstadt was electrified under the management of the regional transport authority Hessen Mobil.  When the truck arrives at the test track, its pantograph will dock on to the overhead lines and the drive will switch over to electric. At the end of the trial section, the truck will continue on electric drive for several kilometres, as it has a battery that is charged by the overhead lines and by recuperation.

“A five-kilometre test track each way on the motorway may seem very short – but its purpose is to try out the principle”, says Heinrich Kerstgens, Co-Managing Director of Contargo. “If the feedback is positive, and if about one-third of the German motorway network is equipped with electrified overhead line infrastructure, in future approximately 80 percent of heavy-duty trucks registered in Germany will be able to travel with electric drive using this technology. This will make a really significant contribution to climate protection.”

Gathering experience

The vehicle was delivered to Rhenus Trucking, who are making it available as a service provider to Contargo. “In order to attain the climate goals we will all have to use alternative drives in future. Therefore it is important to familiarise ourselves with them”, says Sascha Hähnke, Managing Director of Rhenus Transport GmbH & Co. KG. Initially two drivers have been given training in practice and theory by Scania. As of now, El Fondo will be used by Contargo in the Rhine-Main area for transports via the A5 travelling south.

Contributing to research

Christian Eichmeier, Managing Director of Contargo Rhein-Main GmbH, says: “As a regionally strong network of terminals, we focus in the trimodal field on the transport of goods by barge and rail. It is our endeavour to make the ‘first and last mile’ of the transport route, which are performed by truck, as ecologically acceptable as possible. Participating in the ELISA project gives us the possibility of trying out this type of drive while contributing to research. This brings us another important step closer to reducing our carbon footprint even more in future.”

Trying out different drives

For Contargo, this is not the first heavy-duty truck with an electric drive. At other locations the enterprise is already testing fully-electric trucks with a gross weight of 44 metric tons which are used in local transport. “One third of all CO2 emissions in road traffic in Germany are down to goods transports”, says Kristin Kahl, Management Sustainable Solutions. “We are taking part in the field trial because we want to decarbonise by 2050. On the way we are keeping an open mind for various drives. As in many other areas, we are proceeding by the ‘trial and error’ method, because it is only in practice that it becomes clear where improvements still need to be made. We can also definitely envisage the use of hybrid trucks with electrified overhead lines in long-distance transport. They have the charming and beneficial characteristic that their batteries can be charged without having to make a stop.”

The ELISA Project

Information on the ELISA Project can be found on the website:       


About Contargo

With an annual transport volume of 2.1 million TEU, Contargo is one of the largest container logistics networks in Europe. Contargo integrates container transport between the western seaports, the German North Sea ports and the European hinterland. The enterprise has 24 container terminals at its disposal in Germany, France and Switzerland and maintains offices at seven additional locations in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Contargo also operates its own barge and rail lines. In 2019 the workforce of 1,205 employees achieved a turnover of 525 million Euro. www.contargo.net

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Contact at Contargo

Heinrich Kerstgens, Contargo GmbH & Co. KG, Rheinkaistrasse 2, 68159 Mannheim, Tel.: +49 621 17825 276, hkerstgens@contargo.net

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