70 years of Deutsche Binnenreederei AG

The company of the OT Logistics Group offers freight transport by inland waterways in Central and Western Europe

70 years of Deutsche Binnenreederei AG Bild: Deutsche Binnenreederei

The company was founded on October 1st, 1949 under the name of Deutsche Schifffahrts- und Umschlagszentrale (DSU). In addition to the transport of cargo using freight vessels and tugboats, this also included passenger shipping. Following the carve-out of passenger transport business, the company was renamed in 1957 to Deutsche Binnenreederei (DBR).

In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the DBR was responsible as chartering and shipping company for all inland waterway transport. In addition to traditional ship types, canal-going as well as flat ship technology has been developed and widely used since the mid-1960s.

After the Wende, the fleet was privatised, especially the motor vessels. Skippers became self-employed as barge operators, with DBR working for many as a charterer and technical supervisor.

However, with the economic changes in the former GDR, the transport market also changed significantly. After the abolition of state transport control to the inland waterway vessel, HGVs took on considerably larger shares of the total volume. Traditional types of goods, such as coal, paper and pulp products and steel products, have been largely eliminated due to the dismantling of industrial sites. Added to this was the severely impaired infrastructure, which led to a deterioration of the competitive situation.

Therefore, a realignment of the company was necessary. In addition to traditional bulk transports, new business areas were developed and expanded. In the transport of facility segments with large dimensions and weights, thanks to the fleet structure, a leading market position in the Elbe and Oder River areas was achieved.

Since the mid-1990s, container transports have been etsablished, which have developed into stable regular services on the Elbe side canal and the Elbe. Today DBR has about 60 employees and has about 450 ship units with a loading capacity of 200,000 tonnes.

On the occasion of a customer event, Piotr Smierzchala, board member of DBR, summed up the ingredients for the shipping company’s recipe for success with one of Europe’s largest fleets: “Together with our service providers and logistics partners, a continuous adaptation of the fleet to market conditions and above all motivated and highly technically skilled employees, we were able to assert ourselves in the market. “