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DHL air freight hub adds ten Allison-equipped MULAG Comet 6 tractors

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DHL Hub Leipzig, the largest container handling hub in Europe has expanded its towing tractor fleet with 10 MULAG Comet 6 towing tractors with Allison 1000 Series fully-automatic transmissions.

SCHKEUDITZ, Germany – To cope with the constantly growing cargo volume, ten new MULAG Comet 6 towing tractors have been added to the tractor fleet operating at the DHL Hub Leipzig in Schkeuditz, Saxony, near Leipzig.  The fleet currently operates 128 MULAG towing tractors with 4-cylinder Deutz diesel engines (64 kW / 87 hp) and Allison 1000 Series fully-automatic transmissions for container handling. The first 80 vehicles were delivered in 2007, when the test operation at DHL Hub Leipzig began.

“We always reorder the same vehicle models to maintain fleet purity. That way, the drivers don’t have to be retrained,” explained Jens Freund, Duty Manager of Ground Support Equipment at DHL Hub Leipzig.

The Allison-equipped Comet 6 towing tractors operate mainly between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., while more than 55 freight planes land and take-off at DHL Hub Leipzig; some vehicles are also needed during the day.  Business mail, computers, smartphones, and pharmaceuticals are delivered in defined flight schedules. Containers are pulled out and loaded onto MULAG towing tractors. The vehicles carry the freight to the 413 meter-long distribution center, called “the warehouse.” There a 6.5 kilometer-long fully-automatic sorting ally is ready and waiting.  Altogether, the towing tractors move 900 containers daily on average, each weighing a remarkable two to five tons. A total of 17 tons at a time can be moved by the vehicles’ small and agile power packs at a maximum speed of 30 km/h.

The Deutsche Post specified high-traction towing tractors for the air freight hub of its express and logistics subsidiary, DHL. “Therefore we equipped the MULAG towing tractors with Allison 1000 Series fully-automatic transmissions. They have several gears – six forward and one reverse – and in combination with a robust industrial diesel engine they are perfect for handling heavy freight,” said Hubert Bitsch, who is responsible for service ground-support vehicles at MULAG.

 “The Allison fully-automatic transmission is very operator-friendly. You only have to choose the forward or reverse gear, and then you can accelerate. The transmission is low-maintenance, robust and reliable; it transfers engine power to the wheels without interrupting traction, enabling a fast approach. This is very important, because the time frame for freight handling is narrow. Manual transmissions would not work in our business,” finished Freund succinctly.

Jul 11, 2013

About Allison Transmission

Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and is a leader in electric hybrid-propulsion systems for city buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including refuse, construction, fire, distribution, bus, motorhomes, defense and energy. Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and employs approximately 2,900 people worldwide. With a market presence in more than 80 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Hungary and India. Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit