Ship ahoy! – VOLK Diesel Tow Tractors on great voyage

The title export champion has a somewhat bitter taste since the last elections in the United States. The information that Germany managed to win back this title from China in 2016 therefore hardly made it into the headlines. The strong economic position of Germany is thanks in particular to the German automobile industry whose export share is close to 65 %. In the year 2016 a total of 4.4 million passenger cars was exported from Germany, many of which overseas.

Hardly any of the proud buyers of a new car in the United States, Japan or Australia who have decided on a car made in Germany realize that their brand-new vehicle has a journey of several thousand kilometers behind it before the ignition key is turned for the first time.

The “Asian Captain” – With a length of 200 meters, a width of 32 meters and a capacity of 6.000 cars, this Panamanian-registered ship is one of the largest automobile transporters in the world

Nowadays the automobiles are usually transported to their port of destination all over the world on special cargo ships, so-called car carriers. To be able to transport as many vehicles as possible, the decks in the hold of these ships are scarcely higher than the automobiles they transport. The valuable cargo can therefore be stowed on several decks one on top of the other, which gives the ships a fairly inelegant, almost plump ungainly appearance from the outside. Tightly packed together, up to 6.000 cars can be transported in this way over a length of around 200 meters and a width of 30 meters.

Since every single car is brought on or taken off board under its own power, the loading and unloading of automobile transporters is an extremely costly matter in terms of time and manpower. It occurs every now and then that a car fails to start, usually because the battery has discharged during the long sea voyage. In these cases, everything has to happen fast, for due to the extremely tight space below deck, one disabled car can impede the unloading of all behind it.

VOLK Diesel Tow Tractor DFZ 20 N “Carcarrier” – With a vehicle height of less than 1.60 meters, it is excellently suited for use on automobile transporters

So that no time must be lost, disabled cars are usually towed off board. Many car carriers have on board VOLK Diesel Tow Tractors designed especially for this purpose, which accompany the ship year in and year out to the seaports and auto terminals of the world. There is probably no other area of use in which VOLK vehicles travel such great distances during their lifetime, as over the years they can cover several million nautical miles.

Two harbor tugboats pull the automobile transporter “Don Quijote” from its waiting position on the Weser to the Bremerhaven International Seaport – the 1998-built ship can carry almost 6.000 cars

The VOLK Diesel Tow Tractors are optimized in many ways for use on board. For trouble-free operation in the low tween-decks, they have an ultra-compact driver’s cab. This reduces the overall height of the vehicle to less than 160 cm. Due to the particularly low positioning of the centrally situated driver’s seat, headroom is maintained to a great extent.

To ensure that spare parts can be obtained in every port of the world when necessary, the availability of spare parts is already taken into careful consideration in the design phase. Here VOLK’s over 20 years of experience in this specialized area of application pay off.

A regular guest in Bremerhaven – with a capacity of approximately 1.000 cars, the “Autorunner” is among the smaller of the car carriers

The standard multi-layer coating and the optional zinc-dipping of the vehicle chassis and the driver’s cabin ensure that VOLK Diesel Tow Tractors are optimally protected against corrosion. Nowhere is this more important than on the high seas, where the vehicles are permanently exposed to the salty and damp ocean air.

VOLK Fahrzeugbau GmbH
Stahlstraße 15
88339 Bad Waldsee

+49 7524 9709 0