30 August 2020 09:35
Drinks transport: on the road with Matthias Schreiber and his new Actros
Kamener Kreuz motorway interchange. Monday morning, just after nine. Matthias Schreiber has already had his first time slot of the week. In order to be at a Dortmund brewery at his allotted loading time of seven o'clock, he started early.
"I set out at around 4:30 a.m.," says the 27-year-old as he glances at the navigation system display – the arrival time for the next stop in Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock looks good. He still has 100 kilometres of motorway to go, which he can cover in perfect relaxation thanks to Active Drive Assist and Predictive Powertrain Control.
Drinks of all kinds.
The route from Dortmund towards East Westphalia is one of the native Hanoverian's home routes. For Getränke Fahrenkamp he mainly delivers mineral water, lemonade and beer to the main warehouse in Extertal and the auxiliary warehouses between Hameln and Rinteln.
Matthias' employer is well-organised when it comes to purchasing and marketing. On the tours to the Allgäu region or the North Sea, there are always pallets on board for other drinks retailers within the company – that ensures the trucks are fully loaded and even regional Bavarian craft beer finds its way to the East Westphalian drinks retailers despite the small quantities.
Matthias also drives to destinations in a radius of 100 kilometres around the company's headquarters – for example to the diverse mineral springs of the Weser Uplands, from where Matthias picks up water before delivering some of it directly to drinks retailers, hospitals and retirement homes.
His father is also his colleague.
Today, Matthias was in Dortmund, tomorrow the Bremen area is on the agenda, and from Wednesday it's off to the south of Germany. "I have a tour there where I regularly drive to eleven small Bavarian breweries," says Matthias, who has been driving certain routes since he was a small boy. "My father used to take me on his tours when I was a kid." Today, the two of them are colleagues: his father has been with Fahrenkamp for 18 years. For a family man like Matthias, it's ideal. "His experience and his tips have helped me many a time, and sometimes it's good if customers already know my father," says Matthias, who started out driving construction trucks five years ago and then quickly switched to short-radius distribution before moving on to long-distance drinks transport.
"Like family" is how Matthias also feels about the good relationship with his numerous colleagues, whom he got to know through social networks and at rest stops. He meets many of them on a regular basis. "We plan things so we can take a break together. And in some cases, it even happens by chance: this morning a good friend of mine was also at the brewery in Dortmund. That certainly shortens any waiting times."
From Monday morning to Friday afternoon, the Actros is Matthias' home. He's now covered 80,000 kilometres with the new Actros – ample opportunity to test out the pioneering equipment. "The MirrorCam is really amazing. Especially at tight loading docks, it allows me to manoeuvre nice and safely. And on the motorway it also helps me feel a bit more relaxed," says Matthias.
On-board: Predictive Powertrain Control and MirrorCam.
At the Bielefeld South motorway interchange, Matthias merges onto the A33 in the direction of Paderborn. He activates the turn signal. Predictive Powertrain Control lets the Actros coast, uses the retarder for braking and then drives along the slip road at the right speed. Once on the A33, the system accelerates again. "It's an incredible relief. It just allows you to concentrate better on the rest," says Matthias. When the truck is fully loaded – as it is now – winding roads or uneven roads are always a challenge. "The liquid mustn't be allowed to shake around", says Matthias, as he casts a well-trained glance into the MirrorCam whilst parking in front of a drinks market in the industrial estate of Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock.
Three pallets of lemonade and beer are to be unloaded here today. Then it's back on the road in the direction of the company's headquarters – the load from Dortmund is exchanged there for empties to be returned to a mineral spring near Diepholz. Still ahead of him are around 50 kilometres of out-of-town roads with numerous roundabouts and villages to pass. A route on which the improved Predictive Powertrain Control can once again show its advantages to the full.
Photos: Christoph Börries
Video: Alexander Tempel