English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 6 - 2019 | Page 10

GIANTS ON THE ROAD Affolter Transporte AG LIKE A SWISS WATCH AFFOLTER TRANSPORTE FROM THE SWISS VILLAGE SCHÜPFEN HAS AN ULTRA-MODERN FLEET FOR ABNORMAL TRANSPORTS. HOWEVER, THE HEAVY COMBINATIONS OF AFFOLTER ARE RARELY SEEN ON THE EUROPEAN MOTORWAYS AND THEY ONLY VISIT THE PORTS OF ROTTERDAM, ANTWERP OR HAMBURG SPORADICALLY. SWITZERLAND HAS A SPECIAL PLACE IN EUROPE. IT IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE EU, BUT IT IS POSITIONED AS A SORT OF ISLAND IN BETWEEN THE MEMBER STATES OF THE EU. THE AREA AFFOLTER TRANSPORTE OPERATES IN IS THE ‘MITTELLAND’. THIS IS THE UNDULATING, PARTLY FLAT PLATEAU BETWEEN LAKE CONSTANCE AND LAKE GENEVA. AN INTERVIEW WITH RUDOLPH AND ERNST AFFOLTER. 10 ALWAYS THE FIRST QUESTION: HOW DID AFFOLTER TRANSPORTE AFFOLTER WAS THE SECOND CUSTOMER OF NOOTEBOOM IN COME ABOUT? SWITZERLAND “Around 1960 our father - Werner Affolter – had a small farm. In 1962 he bought his first truck to earn some extra money with transport. His first truck was a 2-axle tipper. Some of the work he took on was the transport of hay, straw and potatoes. In those days extensive land re-parcelling took place in order to make farming more efficient. This meant quite a few new roads had to be built. This was a steady source of income for our father. But the transport company only grew slowly. Around 1970 the entire fleet consisted of three or four trucks. In addition to the road construction, a regional factory producing concrete became an important customer. When the construction industry slowed down our father decided to look for a new niche market. We already had experience in the transport of concrete beams and that was a good reason to develop further in the direction of the abnormal transport sector. “ “It wasn’t until 1980 that we began to specialise in ‘heavy-wide-high. It was the height that was the biggest problem. In 1982 we bought our first Nooteboom trailer. The low floor height was a huge advantage for transports in Switzerland. Our trailer was the second Nooteboom trailer in Switzerland. The company that bought the first one does not exist anymore. We used the Nooteboom low-loader for the transport of construction machinery weighing up to 35 tonnes.” THE LOW LOAD FLOOR OF NOOTEBOOM “The many tunnels and viaducts in Switzerland make it difficult to deliver a high load. The maximum height without exemption is exactly 4 metres. With an exemption it can be more. In exceptional cases the height can go up to 5.2 metres. The railway network in Switzerland is very well developed, but for us that is a disadvantage. If we have to cross a railway line with a load that is higher than 5 metres, the power of the railway overhead wires must be switched off.”