Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Switch of Westbound Sea Freight Container Services Provides an Opportunity for Silk Road Service

As Ocean Carriers Avoid Suez so Rail Freight Consolidation Can Benefit
Shipping News Feature

CHINA – UK – It seems that the silk road rail service of one of Britain's independent freight forwarding agencies which it established a couple of years ago is going, well, like a train. And now it seems a side effect of the Covid-19 virus is making the route even more attractive to shippers which usually use the traditional ocean freight container carriers.

Since it launched a dedicated weekly fixed-day rail consolidation import service from China to the UK in November 2018 Davies Turner says it has seen it go from strength to strength with bookings continually increasing. Now the increased transit times resulting from the decision by several container shipping lines in the Asia to Europe trade to re-route sailings via the Cape of Good Hope rather than the Suez Canal is making the company’s direct Express China Rail service even more appealing.

On departure from Wuhan, the intermodal rail service heads direct to Duisburg in Germany. Containers are then trucked under bond to the port of Rotterdam and transported by ferry to Purfleet, near Dartford, for on-carriage by truck to Davies Turner’s distribution centre, where they are discharged, customs cleared and delivered. Tony Cole, head of supply chain services at the freight and logistics company commented:

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and much lower fuel bunker prices has seen a sharp upturn in the number of container line services between Asia and Europe being re-routed via the Cape of Good Hope enabling the lines to avoid the Suez Canal, and its transit fees and dues. This change of policy by some of the shipping lines will help us to attract even more shipments currently moving by ocean freight to the faster overland option.”

“We understand that at least 20 sailings in the Asia to Europe trade lane are being diverted, adding several more days to the transit times of those services. If the lines maintain this revised routing, it means that with a transit time of just 24 days from Wuhan to Dartford, our direct Express China Rail service offers an even more competitive transit time versus the all-ocean alternative from ports on China’s North Eastern and Eastern coasts.