A Unimog for any need.

Clearing, spreading, transporting – Unimog U 530 in Bayrischzell.

There is a talented new addition to Martin Storr's fleet. And it soon started demonstrating just how powerful a tool a Unimog can be, especially when things get really tough. That happened in Bayrischzell in January, when the area was declared a disaster zone in the face of huge snow storms.

200 operating hours in just three weeks – 5,000 km running with snow-clearing apparatus and full spreading material tanks. No a bad effort for a new vehicle fresh into service. "There's hardly a more intensive way to get to know a vehicle," comments Martin Storr, who is giving his Unimog half a day's rest after being constantly on snow-clearing duty the previous week.

Such extreme service is a real rarity even in a popular winter sports location such as Bayrischzell on the slopes of the Wendelstein mountain. Paradoxically, while in past winters lower-lying ski areas even saw snow, this year the authorities were literally caught cold. Even the services in the foothills of the Alps are barely equipped to deal with the amount of snow that fell in the first half of January 2019 on Bayrischzell.

72 hours' continuous service – not a problem with the Unimog.

Over a metre of fresh snow in 48 hours meant round-the-clock shifts for Martin Storr's team. "We basically worked six consecutive twelve hour shifts to keep the roads clear," the 36-year-old business owner reports with some pride. The only problem was that the temperatures were actually too high, especially during the day. The Gmeiner body unit on the new Unimog has both brine and salt tanks. "We had to continually adapt our plans, deciding which combination of spreading materials to use based on instructions from the local highways agency," the winter service professional recounts. Brine in conjunction with salt only provides lasting ice protection down to about minus two or maximum three degrees. If it gets colder at night, the service has to immediately switch to spreading salt in order to maintain safety on the roads.

The demanding nature of the job at the wheel of the Unimog is demonstrated by an inspection tour a week after the disaster was declared. Georg Scharmann is turning off the main road between Bayrischzell and Schliersee onto a side road. The cleared snow is piled well above 1.5 m high to the left and right. Nevertheless, the snow-plough has to clear a thin covering of fresh snow and ice from the asphalt. "You have to drive very precisely here, because if the plough edge hits the snow wall on the right or left side it makes an almighty bump," Scharmann comments.

A short time later he undertakes an inspection tour towards Sudelfeld. The sun is shining today, attracting many people from Munich to come and ski down the perfectly prepared pistes around the area or explore the winter-wonderland scenery on cross-country skis. What the piste snow-clearing units do on the slopes, we do in the surrounding area," contractor Martin Storr explains. Because in addition to clearing the approach roads to the ski slope car parks, he also has to clear snow and ice from the car parks themselves and from lots of utility access routes.

A power plant providing cosy warmth.

When Martin Storr started his business back in 2006, he was actually skiing rather than clearing access routes as he does today. "It basically all began with an idea in a ski-lodge," the successful entrepreneur recalls. A friend asked him whether, in view of the strategically favourable location of his depot, he might want to acquire a vehicle for routine transportation of wood chippings. No sooner said than done: a first tractor was acquired, and from then on Martin Storr transported wood chippings. He subsequently expanded his fleet, and added a dedicated wood chip store. After just two years the business was well established. The company now also operates a wood chip-powered combined heat and power plant, supplying the local community with heat and power all year round. Over the years, a second power plant was to follow in the neighbouring community.

That made it necessary to expand the fleet again – even the power plants' own demand is well over 50,000 cubic metres of wood chip a year. So today the Storr fleet includes two 40-tonners complete with roll-off containers as well as a third Unimog. The versatile entrepreneur is entirely satisfied with his Unimog vehicles: "Thanks to the top-class support from Harald Medl at Henne Commercial Vehicles, the new U 530 has totally met our expectations. The ride comfort and handling, even in extreme weather, are impressive. And we also chose the right accessories in the tyre pressure control unit and the Scharmüller trailer hitch."

The business (practically) runs itself.

In response to the question whether he needs to go out looking for new business to keep his fleet occupied, Martin Storr replies with a grin: "In our business we normally operate on long-term contracts, under stable terms – provided we perform properly and the team is willing to work hard, and regularly long hours." Only one worry haunts Martin Storr occasionally: "Even here out in the country, you rarely find drivers nowadays who are suitable to meet the demands of our job." The Storr business has a staff of six permanent employees. Yet even if business were merely to remain at the same levels, there would quite easily be room for two more transport professionals, the boss explains as he arrives back at the depot.

Dealing with the innumerable cubic metres of wood chip that Storr trades in, burns and transports to supply its now large customer base in Bavaria and Tyrol, the Unimog will barely get a rest even in the summer months. Because during the warmer time of the year, when Martin Storr is stocking up large numbers of wood chip stores for the next winter, he needs the 530's manoeuvrability and speed for towing his walking-floor semi-trailer. It is a combination perfectly attuned to the needs of wood chip logistics. After having so impressively passed its winter service trial, the new star in the fleet will now have the opportunity to show its strengths in the coming summer.

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