Learn more about the more than 90 years of eventful history of Zeitfracht.
Everything begins in the Altmark, in Stendal. Horst Walter Schröter was born here on 2 May 1927. In the same year his father, master butcher Walter Schröter, founded a haulage business – based on the idea to offer a feed trade for the Altmark. The young Horst Walter grows up between his father’s trucks and buses. They become his world. The haulage company develops rapidly in the flourishing German economy.
With outbreak of the war, everything is over all of a sudden: on 1 August 1939, the entire and laboriously built fleet, all trucks and buses, is confiscated for war.
After the end of the war, the laborious new start begins. The Schröters screw together transportable motor vehicles and buses from trucks destroyed in the war, the remains of which were found on the banks of the Elbe, with manual skill and improvisational power. The creative motto is: make one out of four – 17 vehicles are produced this way.
The haulage business begins to roll again. From 1949 a regular service between Berlin and Stendal is established in the still young GDR.
A state control brings an abrupt end to the rebuilt forwarding company: 312 litres of diesel too much are found in the Schröter fleet as a difference to the official figures. The company is expropriated, Walter Schröter goes to prison. Again, everything is gone.
In Stendal, the young Horst Walter Schröter no longer sees any perspective. He makes a difficult decision: on the night of 12 December 1951, he and a friend break through the border checkpoint at Glienicker Bridge to Berlin with two trucks. Both reach the American sector unscathed. His wife and daughter follow him a short time later.
Having arrived in West Berlin, everything is back to a new beginning the 24-year-old Horst Walter Schröter now has to rely on his own strength to build up a new haulage company, following the family tradition. Together with his wife, he dares a restart: and this at a time when the truck stops – the birthplaces of long-distance traffic – are springing up like mushrooms in West Germany. In the 1950s they became the main trading centres for the distribution of long-distance transport orders.
The Schröter haulage company prevailed over its competitors and grew with the products it transported. Horst Walter Schröter knows that if his company should grow, he has to leave West Berlin. Schröter focuses on long-distance transport. The breakthrough came with the order from the German Nativ AG to collect empty glas cylinders for trucks with propellant gas drive, have them filled in Kassel and deliver them back to the filling stations in the Hanover area.
Since then, growth-oriented post-war Germany has brought him one commission after another.
The forwarding agency Schröter develops magnificently. Already at the beginning of the 60’s the company expanded by the aquisition of other haulage companies from the industry.
The reputation of Horst Walter Schröter as a haulage contractor in the industry grows.
ZEITFRACHT developed in 1962. The starting point was the order to transport newspapers and magazines from West Germany to West Berlin. This is the beginning of the ZEITFRACHT group of companies.
In 1970, the symbol of ZEITFRACHT is introduced as a sign of change. The enormous growth has made restructuring imperative.
The transition from the forwarding company Schröter to ZEITFRACHT is more than just a change of name: the name expresses the idea of tying transport of all services to a guaranteed time window: a special in a time without mobile phones or satellite reception. “Just in Time” was born and the competition had to follow the slogan “Transporting freight in fixed time slots“.
And then Horst Walter Schröter came up with the idea of a private parcel service in the 1970s, which would never let him go again. As a member of the board of the Federal Association of German Long Distance Transport, Schröter increasingly received critical voices about the service provided by Deutsche Post: Especially in the area of small consignments, there was an increasing desire to have them transported by forwarders.
Following this idea, 18 independent companies joined together to form a cooperative association. The forwarders divide the federal territory among themselves according to postal codes with a territorial protection, but also the territorial obligation.
They were united by a common will to provide their service under the guarantee that every package between 2.5 and 20 kg delivered to them would be delivered to its destination within 48 hours at the latest.
The community was lead by an independent company with its own management – and so, on 1 April 1976, the first private German parcel service DPD took up its work.
This also applies to the innovative container, also known as swap bodies. These made it possible to change the box to be loaded like a container, thus giving the customer more time to load and minimizing downtimes. These new swap bodies are time bridges for the customer: Schröter played a decisive role in the development of this swap body. To this day, these swap bodies are the heart of the logistics system and are correspondingly standardized and barcode-compatible.
1989 the Berlin Wall fell, and Germany was reunited. Horst Walter Schröter returns to his hometown in Stendal. His father’s haulage company, which was expropriated more than 35 years ago, was now VEB Kraftverkehr Stendal, Haldensleben. When Horst Walter Schröter visited the remains of his parents’ business in 1991 and met people who had already worked under his father, he felt a deep sense of home in him.
In 1991, he decided to buy back the company from the trust.
Since 2000, the French postal operator La Poste is major shareholder of the DPD with 83.32% of the shares. The British Royal Mail acquired Dachser’s share of 10.47% in DPD. Of the founding members, only ZEITFRACHT still holds the remaining 6.21% in DPD.
As new CEO, Dr. Wolfram Simon-Schröter takes over the management of ZEITFRACHT.
In addition, ZEITFRACHT takes over 49% of the shares in HVT Haus- und Versorgungstechnik Potsdam. www.hvt-potsdam.de
The ZEITFRACHT Group sells its last founding shares in DPD tot he French postal company La Poste.
At the same time, the ZEITFRACHT Group expands its logistics division and acquires Döpke Transportlogistik GmbH.
The ZEITFRACHT Group continues to expand its logistics division with the acquisition of TLM Transport & Logistik GmbH.
Furthermore, ZEITFRACHT enters the new business segment of aviation with the takeover of WDL-Aviation GmbH & Co. KG.
HVT Haus- und Versorgungstechnik Potsdam is also fully integrated into the ZEITFRACHT Group.
ZEITFRACHT joins the OPUS MARINE Group.
In addition, ZEITFRACHT logistics is expanding its range of activities with the addition of Road Feeder Services and the acquisition of the OPUS Marine.
WDL Aviation expands its fleet and acquires the first Embraer E190 in March 2019.
Zeitfracht acquires LGW (Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter) from Lufthansa on 1 April 2019.
On 01 August 2019 Zeitfracht acquires Germany’s largest book logistics company and book wholesaler Koch, Neff and Volckmar (KNV). Zeitfracht takes over all 1,600 employees at the three locations Erfurt, Leipzig and Stuttgart. www.knv-zeitfracht.de
Foundation of the German Airways brand: the aviation activities of the Zeitfracht group are spun off from the Zeitfracht group under a new brand and managed independently under the German Airways brand. The two airlines WDL Aviation and LGW will continue to be legally and economically independent companies. www.germanairways.com
Der Weg zur eigenen Piloten-Ausbildung für German Airways ist frei: Die Übernahme der Flugschule des in Essen ansässigen Traditionsunternehmens TFC-Käufer durch die German Airways Muttergesellschaft Zeitfracht ist jetzt vollzogen. Mit dem Kauf wird die Ausbildung der eigenen Piloten auf höchstem Qualitätsniveau sichergestellt. Der Name TFC-Käufer steht in der Branche für professionelle Flugausbildung aus Leidenschaft.
LGW had to declare insolvency under its own management. During the Corona Pandemic, air traffic had collapsed, also due to massive travel restrictions. LGW’s exclusive partner had thereupon terminated the long-term wet lease agreement.