Geodis has launched a rail service between Wuhan in central China and Lyon in France for Kaporal, the Marseille based designer jeans manufacturer.
The first shipment left Wuhan by train, in June, and arrived at Venissieux-Saint-Priest near Lyon, having travelled 11,300 kilometres in 18 days.
Vincent Allal, head of Kaporal supply chain, said: “Rail transport is a real alternative to air travel that was previously considered. The transit is relatively short, we have halved our bill on this transaction and we are very sensitive to the low environmental impact of this solution.”
Geodis consolidates the goods from multiple suppliers in China. Once loaded on the train, the cargo crosses China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France. Containers are then routed to Geodis ’ logistics platform in Grans, near Marseille from where a total of 10 million textile garments are delivered each year to the Kaporal outlets throughout France. Eventually, three trains per week will use this route for Kaporal.
“Twenty drivers were needed to operate the train on its way through seven countries. Locomotives had to be changed eight times and we had to manage three special transhipments at certain borders due to the different track gauge,” said Kim Pedersen, executive vice president of Geodis’s freight forwarding line of business.
“The rail link between China and France opens great opportunities in continental rail. In comparison, ocean freight transit times are approximately 30 days and the rates are subject to high volatility. No doubt that rail transport has a future.”