Maersk’s customised integrated solutions helped a global solar PV provider save more than US$2.5 million


The customer

Trina Solar is a leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and systems, founded in 1997 and based in Changzhou, China. The company has a global presence, with operations in Asia, Europe, North and South America.

Trina Solar’s extensive product portfolio ranges from bifacial solar modules to energy storage solutions and solar trackers.

The company collaborates with installers, distributors, utilities groups, and developers worldwide to drive the advancement of the smart energy industry.

solar factory

The challenge

Trina Solar had two manufacturing facilities situated in the Chinese cities of Suqian and Huai’an. These cities were inland and found about 500 to 650 kilometers away from major ports and transportation hubs like Shanghai and Ningbo terminals. Due to their location, Trina Solar faced higher transportation costs for moving goods to and from these areas. The unwarranted transportation cost affected the company’s overall cost of production and profitability. The problem was worsened by the limited availability of long-haul trucks.

Furthermore, Trina Solar was at risk of supply chain disruptions due to a pile up of finished goods at factory sites. It was a critical issue since Trina Solar increased its year-on-year (YOY) production by 30% in 2022 and planned to continue increasing it over the next 3 years. Trina Solar was also facing logistics challenges related to complexities from value-added tax (VAT) advancements from their incumbent broker. Furthermore, the company urgently required a professional warehouse and intermodal service provider to manage and deliver their products to their destinations.

If not addressed efficiently, these risks and challenges could cause instability, inefficiency, and added costs to Trina Solar's supply chain.

Woman working on tabloid in office

The solution

Trina Solar partnered with Maersk to address its pressing logistics issues. Maersk’s Container Freight Station (CFS) facilities in Nanjing and Huai’an helped to ease the storage pressure at Trina Solar's factories, providing more flexible container supply and quicker turnaround times.

The Huai’an CFS facility, which covers 100,000 square metres, catered to the needs of Trina Solar's Suqian and Huai’an factories, reducing storage costs, transportation distance and providing expandable space.

Maersk also optimised Trina Solar's domestic transportation route by using barges or rail to transport products from Nanjing to Shanghai or Ningbo, significantly reducing logistics costs and carbon emissions.

Maersk provided professional customs services with VAT deferment at the destination, simplifying complex customs regulations and clearance procedures. Maersk’s cross-dock facilities were used to transfer and consolidate Trina Solar's products between different transportation modes, such as flatbed trucks, for final delivery, fulfilling the needs of both the customer and their consignees.

solar farm

The result

Maersk’s integrated logistics solutions resolved Trina Solar’s pain points. The solar PV provider could focus on ramping up its production without worrying about storage.

The timing of empty container pickup was also made more flexible, with the choice of domestic shipment from the loading port to Nanjing.

Highlights from the tie-up with Maersk included:

  • The successful partnership resulted in savings of over US$2.5 million and enabled Trina Solar to reduce production costs and optimise resources.
  • The time for empty container pick-up was brought forward from 7 days before the estimated time of departure (ETD) to 14 days before the ETD. This allowed Trina Solar more time to prepare for loading goods into containers.
  • By optimising Trina Solar’s domestic transportation route, Maersk was able to reduce carbon emissions of transportation by 60%, which was essential for Tina Solar’s sustainability initiatives.
  • As a logistics integrator, Maersk’s functioned as a single point of contact for all of Trina Solar’s logistics needs, simplifying Trina Solar’s operations and allowing for more efficient delivery of products to their European project sites.
solar installation

Maersk’s intervention in Trina Solar’s supply chain also stabilised cargo flow, guaranteeing better equipment availability at the Nanjing CFS facility. This ensures that the right cargo can be shipped out at the right time, resulting in a more efficient and cost-effective supply chain. Maersk implemented end-to-end integrated logistics solutions throughout Trina Solar’s supply chain, from China factories to Europe project sites, to improve the supply chain’s efficiency. This solution streamlined logistics services such as transportation, warehousing, customs clearance, and documentation to provide seamless coordination and integration. Above all, Maersk is delighted to be able to provide Trina Solar with an integrated solution tailored to resolve multiple challenges and is excited to build upon this partnership in the years to come.

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