Thursday, June 18, 2020

First Block Train from Wuhan into France for Automotive Freight Forwarder

Logistics Business Resumes Despite the Virus
Shipping News Feature

CHINA – FRANCE – It seems, despite a second wave of the virus reportedly sweeping Beijing, things at the original source of Wuhan recovered sufficiently early to allow freight traffic to get back to some level of normality in advance of much of Europe.

The new silk road has seen a high demand for rail services from China with the majority of trains terminating in Germany but specialist logistics outfit GEFCO, recently transported 500 tonnes of key automotive spare parts from Wuhan to France by securing one of the first block trains to travel from the city since the Covid-19 global crisis forced lockdown measures.

The move required GEFCO to work closely with rail operators and terminal owners to coordinate the shipment and agree a dedicated block train directly through to France. The door-to-door solution saw the French freight forwarder take care of everything, including all necessary pre and post-carriage arrangements for road and rail, the loading of the containers at supplier plants in Shanghai and Chengdu, custom procedures and warehousing in France.

The 41 containers arrived at Lille Dourges Container Terminal in Dourges, North of France 19 days after collection on 21 April 2020, following a 10,000 kilometre route across seven countries: China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and finally France. The consignment required contactless procedures at terminals as part of strict safety procedures in light of Covid-19 and, by moving the parts by rail over three-weeks in a sealed solution, ensured there was no risk of the virus being carried.

GEFCO says the rail borne transport mode is now an important facet of its service portfolio, providing a cheaper solution to air transport and significant CO² reductions. This particular block train from China to Europe ensured a 4,500 tonne reduction in CO² emissions compared to an air freight option. Alice Defranoux, Global Rail Manager, GEFCO commented:

“Securing the first block train from Wuhan to France marked a significant milestone for GEFCO amid the global challenges of the Covid-19 crisis. In this challenging time, our rail solution is demonstrating its value as a sustainable, cost-effective, time-efficient and reliable proposition. We’re pleased to see restrictions begin to lift as countries work towards recovery. I am very proud to be part of a team where colleagues continue to show agility and excellence for our customers, working with them to be fully engaged and united to go the extra mile.”

With car plants ceasing activity across Europe, GEFCO has had to find solutions to store the parts in local warehouses to ensure fast access for clients as soon as production resumes. To aid manufacturers further in restarting their production, the company has shipped over two million masks to ensure the health and safety of the customers’ employees when sites reopen, primarily by air but now also via rail.