07 October 2020 22:10
New Actros: Ali Sakin drives air cargo to European intercontinental airports
Air freight for the whole world starts its journey in Schwaben. Ali and his new Actros from Rudolph Trucking & Handling drive the export best-sellers from the south of Germany.
When Ali Sakin heard about the visiting RoadStars reporters, one thing was clear to him: his Actros would be looking spotless for the photoshoot. There was just one problem: because of the Corona crisis, all truck wash facilities in the immediate vicinity had drastically reduced their evening opening hours. But this didn't stop Ali from sticking to his intentions. He did a spot of research and found a washing facility in Bruchsal, 100 kilometres away. He still had plenty of driving time left and so he set off on his way.
Successful thanks to the employees.
This little incident says a lot about Ali and the company he works for: Rudolph Trucking & Handling from Stuttgart. The company, which has 120 employees, is a specialist in the transport of air freight by road. The business has grown steadily in recent years. "Our success is due to the work ethic of our employees," says Ali's boss, Bernd Rocker. "Our 60 drivers always take care to ensure their load arrives safely and punctually. However, this attitude can only be achieved if employees feel comfortable and if you put trust in them. And that's definitely the case here!"
From a cost perspective, it was of course not ideal to drive specifically from Stuttgart to Bruchsal just to wash a truck. Nevertheless, Ali's boss agreed with his plan. "Personal initiative is important," says Bernd Rocker. "I think it's great the way Ali shows his commitment to the job. He always goes the extra mile if he needs to."
Ali Sakin has been with the company for 16 years already. The 47-year-old father of three has completely internalised the specific aspects of the business. "If we don't get a load to the airport on time, it's possible that somewhere in the world the production lines in a car factory, for example, will come to a standstill. And you really don't want to be responsible for that, do you?"
Safety and punctuality.
In the case of so-called air freight substitution services on the road, the main focus is on safety and punctuality. Like aircraft, trucks are assigned specific slots for delivery. What's more, the freight documents must be correct, and there are plenty of those for air freight! If there are delays, the shipment might miss its plane.
A reliable fleet of vehicles is therefore a decisive factor for success. Ali's company therefore relies almost exclusively on trucks from Mercedes‑Benz. Rudolph Trucking & Handling operates 40 of its own trucks. Among which there are now six new Actros models. Not only is their reliability impressive, but also the innovative technology on-board. "With the MirrorCam and Sideguard Assist, the issue of blind spots is a thing of the past," says Ali. The driver is also a big fan of the multimedia cockpit. "It makes for a really modern workplace!"
High-tech for all continents.
During the day, Ali and his colleagues collect freight throughout the Baden-Württemberg region. That includes automotive or mechanical engineering components as well as entire assemblies or globally demanded consumer goods made in Germany. One of the shippers is the Gühring company, a manufacturer of precision tools used by industrial companies for drilling and milling as well as for thread production.
"Our success is due to the work ethic of our employees."
– Ali's boss, Bernd Rocker
The products of the high-tech manufacturer from the southern German town of Albstadt are used worldwide, especially in the automotive industry, aerospace technology and mechanical engineering sectors. Gühring has customers on all continents. A significant proportion of the tools therefore have to be flown to their destination.
Several times a week, Ali and his colleagues collect freight from the Gühring warehouses. The shipments are then consolidated and made "safe" in the Rudolph Trucking & Handling warehouse at Stuttgart Airport's air freight centre. A huge X-ray machine scans every consignment before it is transported onward. Only then can the sealed truck be taken to the major international airports in Frankfurt, Munich or Amsterdam – and then directly to the plane. On the return journey, Ali takes imported freight back with him.
"We can rely on each other."
At Gühring and at the airports, a lot of people know the native Swabian with Turkish roots. After all, he's been in the job for many years now. "The relationship with customers and partners is a friendly one. We can rely on each other and also enjoy having the odd chat from time to time," says Ali. "What I like about my job is that, over time, you get to know a lot of people quite well. And I of course also really enjoy the actual truck driving, especially if you have a new vehicle like the Actros."
But the fun of driving was not the reason for the tour to Bruchsal, Ali stresses. "I wanted to have a clean vehicle for some pleasant photos and videos!"
Photos: Henrik Morlock
Video: Martin Schneider-Lau