Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Iron Silk Road Proves It's Worth on Block Train Movement

Faster Than Sea Freight Cheaper Than Air Cargo
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – CHINA – Last week we focused on how groupage traffic was being reinvigorated on the 'Iron Silk Road' but it seems the option of the overland route, faster than ocean freight and certainly cheaper than air cargo, has also attracted a larger scale of consignment.

When BASF, best known by many as a maker of recording tapes but actually a chemical industry giant, prepared to ship its first block chain to China it called on freight forwarding and logistics group Dachser to coordinate the movement, from liaising with train operator RTSB GmbH, to clearing customs and finally distributing the goods at destination.

The KTL terminal in Ludwigshafen plays a key role in BASF’s logistics concept. It serves as a hub, where BASF bundles European cargo and loads the containers onto the trains. Germany’s largest inland terminal is directly adjacent to the company’s main plant with up to 30 trains bound for over 20 European destinations departing from the terminal every day.

From the Rhine terminal the block train, made up of 42 containers of BASF cargo, took 14 days to travel via Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan, less than half the time of an ocean transit. The fact that the principal chemical factories in China tend to be inland, well away from the major seaports is another attractive factor of the rail borne alternative.

One of the problems as ever on the route is the inherited history of different track gauges, something overcome by reloading onto different trains in the Polish village of Małaszewicze and at the Kazakh border with China. When loaded the stacked boxes stand over 40 feet high with a final destination for this cargo of granulates, fuel additives, and catalysts being the city of Xi’an in central China.

Dachser North China handled customs clearance and distribution of the BASF goods to their recipients by truck prompting says Michael Kriegel, Department Head at Dachser Chem-Logistics to comment that, after several decades of close collaboration with BASF transporting the manufacturer’s palletised goods, this new block train shipment took the relationship between the two companies to a new level.

Dachser operates two warehouses for hazardous materials, in Hungary and Romania. Both meet the highest safety standards and the company says its standardised service offering gives the expertise required to handle such goods via a global network, with Thomas Krüger, Managing Director, Dachser Air & Sea Logistics EMEA saying:

“Faster than sea freight, cheaper than air freight, easy to schedule, and reliable, when it comes to fulfilling certain logistics requirements, rail transport to China along the New Silk Road is an excellent alternative to air and sea freight that adds value. Demand for Dachser Rail Services is growing all the time, and we’re especially delighted to have a global market leader like BASF place its trust in our solutions.”