Flood disaster: No all-clear for Western Germany

Massive disruptions continue along important north-south transport axis.

The flood disaster brings Joerg Brandt, Branch Manager at a. hartrodt in Wuppertal, and his team of seven "daily new challenges to the table". The Sales Manager for Western Germany observes: "Many customers who are sitting in the valleys along rivers and streams in our region of Bergisches Land are only now realizing how extensive the damage is." Fifty centimeters of water in a machine manufacturer's building was enough to destroy a lot: high-value machinery, warehouse goods and office equipment. "It's a mucky mess that sits in everywhere," Brandt reports. The manager is responsible for 20 percent of a. hartrodt's export general cargo business in Germany and currently has to plug holes everywhere .

Truck partner companies reliably on the road

"Our transport company for daily deliveries from Froendenberg/Ruhr was on the verge of evacuating the entire workforce, including the warehouse, because of the threat of a dam bursting on the Ruhr River," says Brandt. However, all truck companies with which a. hartrodt cooperates in export are reliably on the road. Brandt expects inland waterway transport to be affected by floods on the Rhine: "If more capacity shifts to the roads, it will be tight."

Deutsche Bahn track repair will take months

According to Brandt, rail freight transport in North Rhine-Westphalia continues to be "massively disrupted". Deutsche Bahn has reported improvements at the Hagen-Vorhalle shunting yard, which was badly affected by the floods, and at the Wuppertal terminal. And "gradually more freight trains are running again to the major seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp" and on the important north-south axis along the Rhine. In some cases, however, the track repairs will "take weeks and months", including in the Aachen area. There, a customer had a warehouse near Eschweiler "two meters under water", Brandt reports: "We were asked to offer an alternative warehouse."

Wuppertal has been badly affected by the floods, but a. hartrodt was lucky: "There was water in the basement of the office building, which could be pumped out," says Brandt. He urgently advises customers to bear in mind that areas are still not accessible.