DB Cargo has announced plans to equip its entire fleet with new sensors and telematics systems by 2020.

The move follows a recent decision by the company’s management board to invest in ‘smart wagon’ technology.

Almost 19,000 wagons are set to be retrofitted by the end of the year as part of the initiative, while the remaining 50,000 units will be overhauled by 2020.

DB Cargo has already equipped 1,000 wagons with the new systems to date.

“Today’s customers expect a high level of service; they want to know, in real-time, where their freight is, when it will arrive and what condition it is in.”

The installation of new sensor technologies such as GPS systems are expected to help the company maintain effective, end-to-end supply chains for its customers.

GPS will enable the customers to track wagons and calculate the estimated time of arrival accordingly, while the sensors are intended to provide information regarding the loading status, temperature and humidity levels inside the units.

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By GlobalData

DB Cargo CEO Dr Roland Bosch said: “In a world of ever-increasing digitalisation, today’s customers expect a high level of service; they want to know, in real-time, where their freight is, when it will arrive and what condition it is in.

“This is why we are retrofitting our entire fleet with digital technology.”

DB Cargo also noted its intention to equip the company’s freight wagons operating in Germany with ‘whisper’ brakes, which keep the wheel service smooth when the brakes are applied in order to significantly reduce noise emissions.

Approximately two-thirds of the fleet has already been retrofitted with whisper brake systems and an additional 11,000 wagons are scheduled to be upgraded this year.

Bosch added: “We are also dedicated to sustainability and so we are making sure that our wagons are also low-noise.

“We want to offer a digital, low-noise wagon fleet, which shows our customers how serious we are about performance, and which ultimately helps shift more traffic to rail.”