Daimler: The SaniStop story: during the Covid-19 crisis more than 150 sanitary facilities are opened for truck drivers across Germany
Freshening up, taking a shower, finding a toilet - elementary needs for truck drivers on tour. However, during the Covid-19 lockdown it has been impossible for many truck drivers to use sanitary and washing facilities. Erlenfried Galuba, a driver for the Fehrenkotter haulage company from Ladbergen, reports: "Usually we are allowed to use customers' washrooms.
But since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis many hygienic facilities have been closed to us truck drivers. The first thoughts of every company were for their own employees. We just fell through the system!"
DocStop activists start SaniStop Galuba's boss didn't want to resign himself to that: Joachim Fehrenkotter is the Managing Director and owner of Fehrenkotter and also the chairman of DocStop e.V., an association which has been committed to providing outpatient medical care for truck drivers since 2007. Now, DocStop has found another field of activity in the sanitary emergency triggered by the Covid-19 crisis.
The result: within only one week DocStop had created a network of 150 companies in Germany who were prepared to make their washrooms available to truck drivers during the pandemic. This was the birth of the DocStop initiative SaniStop. "It is with great respect that everyone talks about the heroes of the road who, during the crisis are making sure we are supplied with the things we need daily and yet no one will let our staff use their sanitary facilities although that is of the greatest importance in the current situation," is how Joachim Fehrenkotter accounts for his commitment.
Sanitary containers at particularly important locations off the motorway Just days after the lockdown was announced the SaniStop activist found a co-operation partner in Ralf Merkelbach, key account manager for large fleets in Europe at BPW Bergische Achsen KG: it was his idea to install mobile sanitary containers at important locations. They were joined by prominent helpers: the Federation of Road Haulage, Logistics and Waste Removal (BGL), the Logistics Alliance Germany and the Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as well as a series of business donors supported the measures and integrated them in to the industry initiative #LogistikHilft founded by Fraunhofer IML.
This was under the patronage of Andreas Scheuer, Minister for Transport, and the parliamentary state secretary Steffen Bilger, co-ordinator for haulage transport and logistics for the federal government. Daimler Truck AG donates 7500 euros to #LogistikHilft Daimler Truck AG also joined the group of supporters and provided 7500 euros for the maintenance and care of hygienic facilities.
Now there are sanitary containers directly next to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Ludwigsfelde close to Berlin or at the cargo transport centre in Bremen, for example. The DocStop website, www.docstop.eu, shows where SaniStop containers have been put up along a route. Thus drivers are on the safe side.
Grave effects on road haulage due to Covid-19 Despite this solution the Covid-19 pandemic has and continues to present great challenges to road haulage companies and their staff: There has been, for example, a massive drop in orders in some sectors which is threatening jobs and sometimes even companies. "We have been hit too; our orders have dropped by 25 percent," reports Joachim Fehrenkotter, whose haulage company has 125 trucks and specialises in the transportation of agricultural machinery and cars. Just as serious are the changes to daily processes within haulage companies from scheduling to the workshops and warehousing: quarantine, working from home, staff who are in high-risk groups - no company remains untouched.
Joachim Fehrenkotter summarises: "We have achieved a lot with SaniStop and #LogistikHilft and I am delighted to see increasing recognition of truck drivers as a professional group during the crisis. But we can't stop now. Even after the crisis there will still be considerable need for improvement regarding parking and sanitary facilities for truck drivers."