Maersk Line and Damco work together on block train

Late October 2017, Maersk Line and Damco launched their first block train from China to Europe for sporting goods retailer, Decathlon.

Wuhan local government, the French consul in Wuhan, Decathlon, Damco and Maersk Line attended a ceremony at Wuhan railways station in an example of cooperation across A.P. Moller - Maersk.

The train will run from Wuhan, China to Dourges, France and was fully booked by Decathlon, the French retailer which is one of the world’s largest sporting goods retailers and a large ocean freight customer of Maersk Line and supply chain management customer of Damco.

The block train is expected to arrive at Decathlon’s premises in Dourges on November 16th.

This project is aligned to the Maersk T&L strategy where both brands are closely collaborating to expand our intermodal footprint and the range of services we can offer and it is the first block train to France for A.P. Moller - Maersk run by Damco. It is being run by Damco’s rail freight team using Maersk Line containers, which reduces the need for trucking rail containers on arrival in Europe and provides more flexibility for the customer.

Close collaboration

“This win-win cooperation between Maersk Line and Damco demonstrates our commitment to develop innovative ways of propelling our customers’ business,” says Mike Fang, Greater China Cluster Top at Maersk Line.

“We do this by providing a transport alternative that enables our customers to take advantage of the economic growth brought by the Belt and Road Initiative. By jointly introducing our block train service to customers, we will strengthen our company’s positioning as Decathlon’s trusted logistics partner in China.”

The train, here at the departure ceremony in Wuhan, is an example of the broader, more integrated customer services that can be offered by A.P. Moller - Maersk.

Belt and road

Rail services are becoming increasingly important for the transportation of goods between China and Europe under China’s One Belt One Road or, Belt and Road Initiative.

Given the distances covered and the need for manufacturers to transport their goods efficiently and securely between the two regions, customers can also benefit from Damco’s global supply chain management expertise.

“Our analyses show that the block train not only achieves reliable lead times, but also provides customers with improved cargo visibility through GPS tracking,” says Damco’s Head of Rail, Kasper Krog.

“Furthermore, because CO2 emissions from rail services are typically 12 times lower than that of air transport, with the block train, we are able to offer a solution that is: efficient, fixed timetable, cost effective, transparent, and with comparatively lower impact on the environment.”

The intention is to make the block train service available to additional customers and market sectors.

It is the intention to further explore profitable opportunities to work with customers using both Maersk Line and Damco’s networks, assets and expertise.

“This is an important step towards expanding logistics support to the markets we serve across the regions,” says Caroline Wu, CEO of Damco Greater China Area. “We are grateful to the Wuhan Government for their assistance and cooperation and thank our customers for the trust they have put in us. We also look forward to providing them with a cost effective, efficient and dependable service.”

Efficiency and agility

The China to Europe Rail solution offers a substantial, complementary advantage alongside ocean freight solutions. It is a third of the cost of air freight and can also help to improve cost efficiencies and supply chain agility for businesses.

Demand for the China-Europe rail services has increased significantly in recent years, and there has been a rapid expansion of high-value cargo such as electronics, machinery and fashion goods needing quick delivery to their final markets. In addition to existing platforms of sea- and airfreight, the block train solution will be one of the major modes of delivering goods.

“Decathlon is a large customer of Maersk Line and Damco and we appreciate their support. Global trade has become more dynamic, requiring our customers to have a more agile and responsive supply chain,” says Lee Sissons, Head of Trade and Marketing in Greater China Cluster.