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Taking the long way home

27 DECEMBER 2019

TransWeb orders two new Scania trucks from the Netherlands… then drives them back to Japan.

The specialist Japanese haulier TransWeb is well-known for its innovative approach to transport services. But the decision to travel overland from the Netherlands back to Japan with two new Scania S 410 trucks was exceptionally bold. After a gruelling total of 13,000 kilometres, the trucks recently arrived home safe and sound to their depot near Tokyo.

TransWeb began as a motor sports logistics provider, and this remains a core part of its business. Nowadays, with 40 Scania trucks in the fleet, the company has expanded into event and concert transports, and vehicle transports of foreign-made cars.

Driver comfort key for choosing Scania

“Deploying Scania trucks not only helps to improve transport quality but also boosts the image of transported goods,” says Managing Director Takeshi Maezawa. “At TransWeb we really care about our drivers. By operating Scania trucks, they benefit from a spacious and comfortable cab that reduces fatigue, even when driving long distances.”

It was against this background that Maezawa’s overland project was developed. “I have ideas that are a bit out of the box and TransWeb has both the passion and ability to realise them,” says Maezawa. “In our industry, we seem to focus on the negative, such as the lack of drivers, strict regulations, soaring fuel costs, environmental costs and the price of vehicles. Instead, we had the positive desire to pursue a dream.”

Many raised concerns about safety but Maezawa was adamant. He declared that he would take full responsibility for the trip. And he lived up to his promise: in mid-September Maezawa and his team, including no fewer than four teams of drivers, travelled to Beesd in the Netherlands to pick up the trucks from trailer manufacturer Van Eck.

An unprecedented feat

Following a stop at the IAA Commercial Vehicles trade show in Germany, they travelled through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia, before reaching Japan at the end of October. “I believe that picking up trucks in Europe and driving them across Eurasia is unprecedented,” says a proud Maezawa.

The driver teams usually travelled 600 kilometres a day but occasionally they managed to drive as far as 800 to 900 kilometres. Along the way, the TransWeb team made stops at Scania dealers in Russia, where events were organised to mark their special journey.

Fumiaki Ohino, Head of Vehicle Management at TransWeb, oversaw the team that drove the 5,500 kilometres from Ryazan to Irkutsk. This gave him a good introduction to the new generation Scania. “The new trucks are quieter and the driver’s seat is also good,” he says. “The truck is easy to drive but the biggest improvement is the wider field of vision. But despite the larger cab, fuel consumption is surprisingly low.”

Never stop dreaming

The long drive through Russia – 10,000 kilometres – ended in Vladivostok where two trucks boarded the ferry to Tottori for the final 900-kilometre leg to TransWeb’s head office, about 50 kilometres east of Tokyo.

Although Maezawa is thrilled by the “wonderful and incredible experience” he still has a taste for new adventures. “I will never stop seeking challenges and I am keeping an eye open for new bold ideas with Scania in the future.”