First train at the NORDFROST seaport terminal

Container Port Wilhelmshaven: First train at the NORDFROST seaport terminal

Wilhelmshaven, June 9th, 2021. In the middle of the week, the new NORDFROST railway system, which connects the company’s seaport terminal with the public rail network, was inaugurated for the first time within a small circle. Combined transports are now available for all types of goods, which further increases the attractiveness of the Wilhelmshaven container port. This offers a high potential and best conditions for the fast handling of container traffic.

Tuesday evening the time had come: the first train passed the entrance to the NORDFROST seaport terminal in the Wilhelmshaven container port. The locomotive brings 18 wagons, loaded with almost 200 new cars from the manufacturer Audi, to a total of approx. 2 km long railway system. Coming from the north, it goes straight into the 33 hectare NORDFROST site, parallel to the border of the neighboring port handling facility and along the company’s new heavy goods hall. Here the 500 m long train comes to a stop so that the cars can be unloaded over the last wagon using a mobile ramp on a large asphalt area. This is where the first inspection of the vehicles takes place before they are brought to a neighboring area rented by Audi within the freight transport center (GVZ) of the port and temporarily stored there. “Here in the port we find the best conditions for the requirements of our automotive logistics,” says Markus Gumbiller, outbound control at Audi AG, with conviction.

The direct customer for the first rail loading at NORDFROST in Wilhelmshaven is CAT Car Terminal GmbH, which Audi has commissioned to handle. As a subsidiary of the French CAT Group, the Osnabrück-based company is known as a Europe-wide service provider for new and used vehicle logistics. “In NORDFROST we have found a suitable partner who offers flexible options and creates pragmatic solutions,” says Timo Völz, logistics manager at CAT.

“This first train arrival is the prelude for many more rail traffic at the NORDFROST seaport terminal,” says Britta Bartels, managing partner of NORDFROST, happy for the family company. She points out that the company’s own track is available to all shippers, including generous outdoor storage area. “We support the loading activities with our services as required,” she explains. Andreas Bullwinkel, Managing Director of Container Terminal JadeWeserPort Marketing Gesellschaft, praises the partnership-based cooperation among the companies based in the GVZ and is looking forward to further projects of this kind.

In the future, NORDFROST will design combined transports for its customers as part of supply chain management with the involvement of the railways. In addition to the equipment required for rolling loads such as cars, there are specialized container stackers, so-called reach stackers, with which containers can be loaded onto or from the train. In this context, NORDFROST then provides further services at its seaport terminal if required, such as the pretreatment of wood for export overseas.

A track runs directly through the new heavy goods hall. Components arriving by rail can be unloaded and easily handled in the 8,000 m² hall using an overhead crane. All three aisles have cranes with a lifting capacity of up to 120 tons, so that parts can be assembled here to form larger units and prepared for safe sea transport. An offer in project logistics with seaworthy packaging that has established itself very well with the successful handling of a wide variety of demanding projects for German mechanical and plant engineering.

For the German export industry there is the interesting possibility of intermediate storage of containers that reach the NORDFROST seaport terminal by train in the container depot of the company, which offers all services for the preparation of containers. With the logistics company’s container shuttle, the boxes are then delivered punctually to the transhipment terminal for ship loading. This offers shippers more flexibility these days and a welcome alternative to traditional seaports, where container deliveries can currently only take place very little in advance of the ship’s departure due to traffic jams.

“In the interests of the importing and exporting economy, the Wilhelmshaven container port must be integrated much more closely into overseas traffic,” demands Britta Bartels. “There are still development opportunities and fast handling of overseas traffic. We are currently experiencing numerous unplanned ship arrivals at the German deep-water container port and are supporting the affected shippers with convincing solutions for the unloading and delivery of containers. We are confident that the potential of the port is now increasingly being recognized by shipowners and shippers!”. At the NORDFROST seaport terminal, a dedicated team around branch manager Philipp Brandstrup is available at all times with needs-based services.

This Container Freight Station is specialized as a food hub, but provides logistics services for goods of all kinds. The covered storage capacity currently comprises 105,000 pallet spaces, divided into a third each into deep-freeze, fresh and dry storage for food and for general cargo. In addition, there is the heavy goods hall that was inaugurated in September 2020. The new high-bay warehouse is about to go into operation, with which the freezer capacity of the location will be expanded from 35,000 pallet spaces to 75,000 spaces. Extensive hygiene areas that are already in operation are connected to this – for food processing on behalf of customers, including contract packaging directly in the port.



NORDFROST, headquartered in Schortens near Wilhelmshaven, is Germany’s leading frozen food logistics company and is internationally active. The family-run company, which has existed since 1975, generated sales of around 450 million euros in 2020 and operates 40 deep-freeze storage locations with 3,000 employees in Germany with a constantly growing capacity of currently 900,000 pallet spaces. This includes the newly built locations in Herne and Mücke that went into operation last year. The locations owned by the company form the basis of a nationwide groupage network for the fine distribution of frozen goods. NORDFROST dispatches 1,600 trucks every day. These are used throughout Germany and Europe up to the distribution of groupage loads in all European country markets in which the logistician works with strategic partners. Highest quality awareness, IT competence and sustainability are hallmarks of NORDFROST. As part of supply chain management, customers from the entire food industry (food industry, food retail, wholesale, import and export) are offered individual, holistic solutions for all aspects of warehousing, transport, trade and port logistics. In port logistics at NORDFROST, the focus is currently on the Wilhelmshaven container port. The company’s NORDFROST seaport terminal is located directly in Germany’s only deep-water container port and offers tailor-made logistics concepts for both frozen and fresh goods, but also for dry goods such as unrefrigerated food or promotional goods through to heavy goods. Such an offer will also be established at the Wesel harbor on the Lower Rhine. It all started at the end of March 2021 with the start of waterside container handling for conventional and temperature-controlled transports.