The #unstoppable terminal love of Wiencont: ‘millions are not needed’
It is one of the most innovative terminals of Europe today. But, Wiencont does not necessarily need to have the latest technologies, or spend millions on new applications. “We use a combination of existing and new innovations”, says Harald Jony, CEO of the trimodal terminal in Vienna. Harald is a speaker at the RailFreight Summit in Poznan. In this interview, he gives us a sneak preview of his take on terminal innovation.
When you visit the website or Linkedin page of the terminal, you see is not ran by ordinary old-fashioned men. ‘Non-stop terminal’, or #unstoppable #trailerlove, #containerlove and #terminallove are common slogans seen on the pages. During the corona crisis, it announced it was now a paperless terminal. “We changed to a paperless terminal to make the process for customers more efficient and faster”, Jony said.
Digitalisation is one trend that has made its introduction in the terminal. Reach Stackers, people on the ground and the terminal control are all connected via the same system. Due to this, trucks now spend half the time inside the terminal, the CEO explains.
Handling times were also reduced when the access of trains was arranged at a single point. “Thanks to this, we do not need shunting at both sides. This saves time when handling a complete train, and it creates more flexibility.”
These are just some examples of initiatives taken to increase efficiency. The terminal made the news in 2019, when it started using Google Glass to check incoming containers, a job normally done manually.
“We also tried other brands. This allows us to get information, for example about the damages on a container, by combining spoken words with pictures from the smart glasses. This is a hands-free procedure and it goes faster. In the end, we could say it is working, but only at nice weather conditions and not in winter or on rainy days. We do expect that in one or two years the technology is developed for those conditions too”, the terminal chief comments.
Millions not needed
“Wiencont wants to innovate, but the technologies do not necessarily need to be new. There are plenty existing technologies for hinterland terminals, and it is not always needed to spend millions on new applications, as the big ones do.” According to Jony, innovation can take years in this manner.
When asked if European terminals are doing enough to innovate, he comments: “Terminals should focus on customer needs and not only on nice-looking innovations driven by themselves. New innovations are good but expensive. It should be a combination of existing and new innovations.”
Yet, the company is clearly choosing a profile that shouts ‘modern and innovative’. “We changed our image to show the market that we are back and reinvented ourselves. We are a family with forty years of experience and employees with twenty years of WienCont life.
“We are focusing now on our strength: providing terminal services in the most flexible way for our partners. We show what we do because we are different to other hinterland terminals and we want to be a frontrunner in showing what is possible with little means.”
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