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Covid-19 could push more Asia – Europe freight to rail

INTERNATIONAL: ‘I believe that the impact of Covid-19 will push many shippers to rethink their supply chains, and that could well see a lot more Asia-Europe air and ocean freight traffic moving permanently to the rail freight option’, said Philip Stephenson, Chairman of Davies Turner, after the UK logistics company’s weekly intermodal service consolidated cargo from multiple shippers from Xi’an in China to Dartford near London in a record 17 days.

The weekly service uses rail from Xi’an to Duisburg in Germany. Containers are then trucked under bond to Rotterdam and transported by ferry to Purfleet, for road transport to Davies Turner’s distribution centre where they are discharged, customs cleared and the goods delivered.

‘While air freight and ocean freight shipments face significant capacity and schedule issues, the first consol container that left China after we restarted our direct Express China Rail service into the UK in March arrived and was unpacked at our Dartford freight hub after just 17 days’, said Head of Supply Chain Services Tony Cole on April 6. ‘That is several days ahead of the scheduled transit time of 24 days, and beats the previous record achieved last year of 18 days.’

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