CILT study tour: Visiting Europe’s largest transport platform

They have been in San Francisco, St. Petersburg, Montreal and Lisbon to gain knowledge about ports, railways stations and warehousing of all sorts.  This year the CILT UK (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK) study tour group, which is interested in all aspects of transport and logistics went to Germany and visited a rather small and unknown village: Erkrath near Düsseldorf.

Since last autumn this small village has been the location for the headquarters of Europe’s largest transport platform, TimoCom.  So, the CILT study group was invited by TimoCom’s Country Manager Northern Europe, Maria Toft Madsen.

“I was clicking through the CILT UK homepage and I noticed that a ‘Study Tour’ in Wuppertal/Düsseldorf was planned.  On the programme was, among others, a visit to the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn which is only a stone’s throw away from TimoCom’s new headquarters,” explains Maria.  “I thought it would be a nice opportunity to show a bit of ‘behind the scenes’ at the market leading freight exchange TimoCom.”

Andrew Dartnell, FCILT, Vice Chairman, West Midlands Region, who has been organising these tours for 40 years liked the idea and agreed on a visit.  Thursday 16 July was the big day and in the morning the study tour group was welcomed by Maria Toft Madsen and ‘Trucky’ – a lovely vintage lorry from 1960, around which the foyer of the head quarters was literally built.

After the cheerful welcome, the study tour group was shown around the departments where each floor has its‘own colour relating to the TimoCom products’ colours.  Getting seated with coffee and refreshments the study tour was then presented with the functionalities of the TimoCom transport platform in which the users offers their available freight/loads and vehicle capacities.

If one would not have known that the study tour delegates were bus operators and drivers, couriers and railway managers then this would have become clear later by the many interested and subject specific questions. A hot topic was the security within the transport platform and the freight exchange.

Maria Toft Madsen presented the TimoCom safety net, a multi-level security system.  Bus operator and owner of DRM Bus, David R. Morris mentioned: “You’re like a bank!” and his comment hit the concept of the individual and personal security key which each TimoCom user is given.  Next, TimoCom employee Jochen Dieckmann, former German lorry driver and ‘Transport Ambassador’ gave an insight on the German HGV market and explained the ‘Transport ambassadors’ role to spread the message about understanding and security between lorries and other road users.

The study group was very enthusiastic and the discussion was vivid with exchanging experiences about workforce shortage, wages, cabotage and amusing situations from the daily work on the road.  After the presentations the study group had one more visit to pay: The TimoCom Truck.  The freightliner XL owned by TimoCom was marvelled at and it was possible to take a look into the cabin. “Comfy and impressive” was one of the comments from Richard Denby whose company used to supply Unilever depots.

A snapshot of the group was the last part of the programme and then the CILT study tours group was invited to sample a German lunch in the TimoCom lunchroom, on the menu was among others a German lentil stew with sausage á la Rhine.

At TimoCom the claim is: We bring freight and vehicles together.  And the visit did show the ‘we’; behind the scenes you find motivated people who are very passionate about transport and logistics.

Find more information about TimoCom at www.timocom.co.uk / www.timocom.ie