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Laser nets, drones, encrypted messages – no, it’s not the setting of a gripping spy novel or action-adventure film, it’s the Kuehne+Nagel Vehicle Competence Centre in Stuttgart.
Stuttgart station is one of Kuehne+Nagel`s eight global automotive Competence Centres that have a special focus on shipping fully assembled high-value vehicles by air freight. The team of automotive experts, genuine enthusiasts in their field, treat the vehicles as if they were their own and make sure that no matter the final destination: prestige motor show, beautiful photo-shoot on a serpentine road or a furious race – the vehicle will always arrive in perfect condition, ready to impress.
Our experts understand not only the complexity of the automotive industry, but specifically the unique challenges that arise in the transport of finished vehicles. “We collect the vehicle (the collection service is equipped to handle a variety of vehicles, from high-value classic cars to motorcycles), bring it to our dedicated facility and secure it using high-strength fabric straps to ensure minimal movement on the pallet during transit. After delivery to the airport cargo centre, the vehicle goes through the security screening, gets cleared for export and is then loaded on to the aircraft. On the import side, the process is similar, and, of course, we take care of all documentation, insurance and proactively monitor the vehicle during the entire journey,” explains Tobias Gerster, Head of the Vehicle Competence Centre in Stuttgart, one of many such automotive enthusiasts.
One small detail that Tobias didn’t mention: in most cases, the vehicle is not allowed to be seen by anyone.
This detail adds a completely different level of complexity to the process. Since customers have become more and more interested in solutions for high-value vehicles that require extra security and safety or a confidential service for prototypes, the Kuehne+Nagel team had to make sure that the service meets the highest requirements and introduces all the necessary operational setup and equipment. “To ensure full control, protection and confidentiality from door to door, we created a dedicated area in our facility for up to forty vehicles that requires 3 levels of access to enter. We also introduced 24/7 CCTVs, drone protection and laser net on the warehouse, established additional information security measures such as encrypted messaging – I sometimes feel like a secret service agent here!” laughs Tobias. For transport, the vehicle will be carefully put into one of the specially designed vehicle transportation solutions that protect it from view and ensure maximum safety during transit. “We offer a number of transport crate solutions”, Tobias continues, “depending on customer needs: from simple covered transport and wooden cases, through to a quickly built Vehicle Transport tent, robust sea freight container, or a very special Vehicle Transport Box”.
Shipping such confidential vehicles involves the processing of highly sensitive information. Stuttgart station is the first station in Kuehne+Nagel’s global vehicle transportation network that has become an accredited service provider by TISAX (Trusted Information Security Assessment Exchange), introduced by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). “Getting TISAX accreditation is evidence of our compliance with stringent information security requirements. We plan to establish and adhere to the highest information security standards across the global vehicle transport network” comments Valentina Abplanalp, Global Head of KN Finished Vehicles transportation solutions. “Every solution is unique, of course,” she continues, “but in order to ensure high-quality service globally, all our stations need to follow standard operating procedures and the requirements of KN Finished Vehicles standard that we have developed especially for these type of shipments. Shipping high-value, confidential vehicles adds yet another layer of requirements on top of the existing internal standards, but the added value for our customers that comes with all these efforts this what matters! Our goal is to have a 100% compliant network for this type of vehicle transportation and our Vehicles Competence Centres around the world have already kicked off the rollout,” adds Valentina.
This means that apart from mission-ready Europe, our global customers will also benefit from the unique solutions, specific expertise of our global automotive team and network, and high-end infrastructure. This also means there will be more of our secret service agents out there, going above and beyond for our customers and their vehicles.