Stay with the flow
Transport Magazine

Stay with the flow

On the road with wine from the Mosel – GTS Logistik from Traben-Trarbach.

The Actros trucks from GTS Logistik transport must and wine for the large wineries in the Mosel region. A job that requires the utmost reliability from the trucks and initiative from the staff.

At this spot the Mosel flows in a tight meander. Thus a part of the town is located on a peninsular in the middle of the river. An artistically designed bridge connects it with the rest of the little town. Perfectly restored hotels and town houses dating back to the art nouveau period line up along the riverbank attesting to the town’s wealth during the “belle époque”. Traben-Trarbach – this is an urban gem, a Mecca for lovers of white wine and at one time one of Europe’s most important wine-trading towns – second only to Bordeaux. At least that is what the German Wine Institute writes in one of its publications.

The era of the hugely rich wine traders is over – around 1900 they dug cellars under half the town and had Berlin's star architect Bruno Möhring build magnificent properties. However wine still shapes the town today: on the steep slopes along the river wine-growers cultivate their grapes. Wineries, restaurants and seasonal wine taverns invite visitors to taste wine and try regional dishes. There are also many companies whose products and services are closely connected to wine growing and production.

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Hotspot Mosel: not only are the best German vineyards along the river; important wineries and service providers for the industry are located there too.

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These include GTS Logistik GmbH which specialises in the transportation of wines and spirits. Jerry Bodry is Managing Director and owner of the company with its 60 staff and 36 trucks. Born in Luxembourg, the location of his company never ceases to impress him: “We work where others come on holiday!”

For more than 20 years now, Bodry has been living in the region and today, in heart and soul, he is both a Traben-Trarbacher and a service provider for the regional wine industry. “Wine isn’t just any old freight,” says the qualified freight forwarder, “but a sensitive food product in which people who give their all in the vineyards and cellars, have invested a lot of work and passion. For us, it is both a duty and an incentive to do whatever is necessary for the wine to reach its destination on time and without damage.”

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Jerry Bodry is the Managing Director and owner of GTS Logistik GmbH.

“Wine isn’t just any old product, it’s a sensitive foodstuff in which vast amounts of work and physical energy have been invested. The wine growers and producers have given their all to render a perfect product.”

Jerry Bodry, Managing Director at GTS Logistik GmbH
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Modern wine production: haulier, Jerry Bodry (left) meets cellar master Michael Filzen at the premises of his customer Zimmermann-Graeff & Müller (ZGM).

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GTS’s customers are the large wineries in the region, for example Zimmermann-Graeff & Müller (ZGM) from Zell a little further down the Mosel river. With its tank drawbar combinations which can transport up to 25,000 litres, GTS loads up must or wine from the winegrowers and takes it to the wineries. There, the must is “matured” – as it is known in professional jargon – to wine in a complex and strictly controlled process. And this is also where it is filled into bottles.

At ZGM a series of large, fully-automatic bottling systems fills white wine, red wine and mixed drinks into bottles and special wine cartons. It's a long time since only German wines were processed here: wines from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina are shipped to the Mosel region in standard containers with plastic tanks holding 24,000 litres and are filled into bottles. This is how Spanish, Italian and French wines ordered by German retail store chains also first land in a bottle here.

At the premises in Zell alone, ZGM can fill up to 650,000 litres every day in its six bottling stations. The finished product is taken to the central warehouses of the large supermarket chains by GTS tractor/semitrailer combinations for example which cover up to 120,000 kilometres a year.

“Maximum availability of the trucks is an important success factor when transporting wine because the market has extreme peaks in demand when every truck is needed,” reports Jerry Bodry. “For us, the reliability of the vehicles is just as important as a perfect service which ensures that trucks are operational again fast when services and repairs are due.”

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GTS relies on a fleet comprising only Mercedes-Benz trucks which is under the care of the dealership at Koblenz. “I must always be available to my customers,” Bodry tells us. “What pleases me about Mercedes is that they follow the same philosophy and are always there for us when something is wrong.” The entrepreneur also appreciates the consultation when buying a truck. “I was able to take my time looking personally at the Actros in detail,” Bodry reports. “This is a truck that offers drivers a top-quality workplace and which can be operated most efficiently.”

“It’s a truck which provides the driver with a great place to work and which is also highly economical in its operation.”

Jerry Bodry
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More safety: MirrorCam, Active Brake Assist 5 with improved pedestrian detection as well as Sideguard Assist support GTS drivers on their tours on the narrow roads and bridges of the Mosel valley. 

Fuel consumption as an example: Bodry, who uses Fleetboard to monitor his drivers and vehicles, has observed that the Actros consumes up to three percent less diesel in comparison to its predecessor. The main reasons for this are the further optimised Predictive Powertrain Control cruise control and transmission management system and the improved aerodynamics of the vehicle thanks to, for example, the streamlined cameras of the MirrorCam.

For Bodry, safety systems such as Active Drive Assist, Active Brake Assist 5 and the improved Sideguard Assistwere all reasons for buying the Actros. “These systems have a scope of services that only Mercedes offers. Thus, for me, buying the Actros is also a question of responsibility for our drivers and other road users.” After the first eleven new trucks proved their worth in a very short time, Bodry ordered 20 more.

The drivers also feel comfortable in the vehicle. For example, Joachim Bauer didn’t want to do without the MirrorCam after only a few days. “The system is a great help, particularly when reversing and manoeuvring. And it doesn't get dirty half as quickly as a conventional mirror!” Bauer is also satisfied with the new Multimedia Cockpit. “There is now a lot more information about my driving times, for example, in the central display and the layout is much clearer.” He also like the entry buttons below the secondary display with which he can call up a diverse range of menus: “Here the benefits of a touchscreen have been perfectly combined with those of conventional switches.”

Satisfied, fully-motivated drivers are just as important to GTS’s business success as a reliable fleet. “We have to flexibly manage considerable fluctuations in demand,” Jerry Bodry tells us. “And for that we need drivers who pull their weight 100 percent and who are convinced of their truck’s value.”

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Pure grape juice: Joachim Bauer delivers loose wines to ZGM in Zell an der Mosel, one of the largest wineries in the region.

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“Especially when reversing and manoeuvring, the system provides me with optimum support.”

Joachim Bauer, driver at GTS Logistik GmbH

In weeks with public holidays, for example, GTS has an extreme amount of work. “At Easter, Ascension Day or Whitsun, retail businesses often intensify their promotional campaigns at short notice,” Bodry says, “but when and where exactly that will happen is difficult to calculate. In any case we are faced with two challenges at the same time: quantities increase abruptly and we only have a four-day week in which to get the job done. At times like these, we need to make sure that all drivers and the complete fleet are in operation.”

The grape harvest from mid-September to the end of October also marks a peak in orders: during this time, GTS drawbar combinations with tank swap bodies load up the must at the vineyards and wine cooperatives and deliver it to the wineries. “During this period we also hire additional swap body vehicles from Mercedes‑Benz CharterWay. We equip them with our own tank swap bodies and then we need every driver,” says Bodry.

During the harvest the must needs to be transported at weekends too. However the prescribed driving and break times don’t allow any exceptions. As a result, good personnel planning is also the biggest challenge during this time. Bodry: “We employ temporary staff and take the drivers out of long-distance jobs wherever we can bridge the gap with reliable haulage partners.”

GTS driver, Joachim Bauer, used to be an enthusiastic long-distance driver and delivered pallets of wine bottles throughout Germany; he only changed over to the tank trucks during the harvest. Rhine-Hesse, the Palatinate, Franconia, Kaiserstuhl, Württemberg and the Mosel – those are the wine regions where Bauer knows many wine-growers. He likes it best in Traben-Trarbach. And is in full agreement with his boss, Jerry Bodry. That is why the town’s coat of arms is proudly emblazoned on the co-driver side of his Actros while a drawing of the historic bridge gate decorates the driver’s side.

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Photos: Matthias Aletsee 
Video: Martin Schneider-Lau