Gottfried Kübler supplies fuel to filling stations
Gottfried Kübler supplies fuel to filling stations on behalf of Paul Klacska GmbH. Mercedes-Benz ROUTE spent a day with him aboard his new Actros 1842 LS.
Despite not being a man of many words, 50-year-old Gottfried Kübler from Salzburg is very passionate about his work. Kübler is a truck driver. A big chap with slightly grey hair, high forehead and a pair of glasses on his nose. He transports fuels for Paul Klacska GmbH. The fuel haulier's tasks include delivering bitumen, oils, liquid gas and technical gases, but Kübler isn't alone. For the most part, he is on the road together with his new Actros 1842 LS in Salzburg, Tirol or Upper Austria, supplying filling stations with petrol and diesel. He shares his vehicle with another colleague, both driving in shifts.
Depending on his shift pattern, he starts his day at Klacska's Salzburg-Gnigl depot, either at 1.30 p.m. or, as in today's case, at 2 a.m. While the town is still under the cover of darkness, he starts going about his business in the industrial zone: the vehicle loads are checked and the trucks make the first tracks through the freshly fallen snow. Kübler climbs into the cab of his Actros and recalls the orders he received the evening before, checking on his Skypad whether or not there are any changes to be made and then he starts his engine.
Depending on the order, Linz, Munich or Neustadt are his first destinations. At the fuel storage depots and refineries there, he picks up his valuable freight for customers like OMV, BP, Shell, ENI, MOL, Neste, Lukoil, the Doppler Group or other regional fuel traders: up to 33,000 litres of diesel or around a further 4000 litres of petrol can be carried on-board. Each month, he and his colleagues deliver four million litres of fuel to customers. Over its 30 locations in Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, and Slovakia, the entire company transports around ten billion litres.
"It's a considerable amount," as Managing Director Alexander Klacska highlights. To manage this, he can call upon a fleet of around 450 vehicles, of which around half bear the three-pointed star on their nose – something of a growing trend. Besides Kübler's new truck, Klacska accepted delivery of a further 17 Actros models in autumn of last year. Further orders are being planned. "The percentage of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in our fleet is growing because we're very impressed by the vehicles," says Alexander Klacska. "They fulfil the requirements of the Euro VI emissions norm and they also meet our own expectations in terms of quality, whilst also being attractively priced and allowing us to make use of a good service network at all of our branches. The consumption figures are much lower than the previous models." Currently, that value is 28 litres per 100 kilometres – two litres less than before. "Even we were surprised by that. It makes a big difference in the long-term calculations," explains Klacska. This isn't the only reason why he is so happy about the partnership with Mercedes-Benz: "It's definitely the right thing for us at present."
Gottfried Kübler is also happy with his vehicle, which is about to deliver its first load at a filling station. He parks directly next to the filling shaft, secures the vehicle with traffic cones, puts on his safety goggles and helmet before opening the valve cabinet. Now he has to expertly connect the earth cable, followed by the product hose and then the orange-coloured gas recovery line. He subsequently checks the tank content. If everything is as it should be, around 500 litres of fuel flow out of his semitrailer into the underground tanks of the filling station per minute. "Here, we're delivering diesel," confirms Kübler, "but in theory, I could now also pump petrol into the tanks. The tanker has a five-chamber tank which can carry up to four different products, and the entire capacity is around 43,000 litres." Kübler supervises the filling process – it takes around an hour for the 30,000 litres of diesel to be fully pumped out.
Time for a breath of fresh air and a chat about the vehicle. "I can't think of anything bad, to be honest," says the trucker from Salzburg, laughing. Let's turn straight to the good points then: "Where shall I start?" asks Kübler. "From the traffic jam brake to the automated transmission and the comfortable seat; it's just a perfect vehicle." Besides all of the safety features like Active Brake Assist, stability control and Lane Keeping Assist, the Actros also features a wide-angle front camera, xenon headlamps and a sensor-equipped fifth-wheel coupling. "That makes it very easy to use," says Kübler, who now has to get going to the next place.
He supplies up to four customers on each of his daily shifts. Before he sets off to the next one, he has to uncouple and stow away all of the hoses and the traffic cones. Job done! Kübler climbs back up the three steps into his cab, takes one deep breath, puts his hard hat next to him on the passenger seat and starts the engine. "Off we go to the next customer then!"
Fotos: Bubu Dujmic