An operator in a grappler loading roundwood into a truck bed at a Mercer Holz work site in the Harz Mountains

Wood That Rolls Perfectly: Mercer Holz relies on an automated system for monitoring the load weights in rail freight traffic

Rosenthal am Rennsteig, December 15, 2020 – When it comes to the raw material of wood, Mercer Holz is hands on. Every year, the company purchases more than seven million solid cubic meters of wood, five million of which are logs. More than 3.5 million tons of logs, chips, and lumber are transported by rail, which adds up to over 2,000 block trains. This makes Mercer Holz one of the largest purchasers of wood in Europe.

Mercer Holz is also one of Europe’s largest rail logistics companies in the wood sector. As valuable as raw wood material is from an economic and climate perspective, it can be difficult for transporters to handle. “Wood can have weight differences of up to 50% due to differences in density and moisture content”, explains Jürgen Köhler, Division Manager for Rail and Ship Logistics at Mercer Holz. Other major uncertainty factors that significantly affect logistics are the cost-effectiveness, safety, and error frequency. 

The LoadMonitor system by the company PJ-Messtechnik GmbH from Graz/Austria (PJM) offers a suitable solution. This system determines important data such as wagon weight, GPS location, or mileage via various monitoring functions in real time. As well, it can be used to monitor the loading process. “We need reliable, stable monitoring of the loading process to protect against overloading of the wagons – both for the loading forwarders and for our company”, Jürgen Köhler explains.

With the LoadMonitor system, Mercer Holz has closed a gap in the logistics process chain: all essential information about the freight cars, as well as automatic load control directly on site, is covered by one system. In total, more than 500 freight cars used by Mercer Holz will be equipped with the new system by the end of March 2021.

With the help of an app, the direction of travel, mileage, current position, last message, last movement, current country, and nearest city can be evaluated in real time for all freight cars. This ensures faster and more effective timber loading. Weight monitoring also ensures that the volume of the wagons is optimally utilized without causing dangerous overloading. Mercer Holz is thus making further progress in our continuous improvement of occupational safety. Wear on the wheels can also be detected at an early stage, increasing the profitability of the wagons and improving the productivity of the shippers.

About us

Mercer Holz GmbH is the largest timber purchasing organization in Germany. With its 180 employees, it supplies the German Mercer sites Mercer Rosenthal in Thuringia, Mercer Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt as well as the sawmill Mercer Timber Products in Friesau/Thuringia with around 7 million solid cubic metres of wood annually.

In addition to supplying the pulp mills and the sawmill, Mercer Holz also provides procurement, forestry, and logistics services for third-party customers. The company operates its own harvester/forwarder teams and an extensive fleet of trucks. Mercer Holz sources its timber exclusively from sustainably managed forests. For more information, please visit our website at