Geodis manages the rail transport between Wuhan in central China and the city of 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 traveled 11,300 kilometers in 18 days, alongside the legendary Silk Road.
This new service enables Kaporal to reduce its transport time, costs and its environmental footprint. According to Vincent Allal, Head of Kaporal Supply Chain, “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.”
The rail service between China and France optimises Geodis’ door-to-door solution for Kaporal. 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.
“We successfully coped with a number of operational and technical challenges,” says Kim Pedersen, Executive Vice President of Geodis’ Freight Forwarding Line of Business. “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 transshipments at certain borders due to the different track gauge.”
“The rail link between China and France opens great opportunities in continental rail,” he continues. “It is an innovative solution that we offer to our customers. 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.”
This mode of transport, fully aligned with Geodis’ Corporate Social Responsibility approach, generates low CO2 emissions, significantly lower than other transport modes. Based on an innovation-friendly perspective, Geodis – as part of its CSR approach – strives to provide optimised solutions from both an economic and environmental point of view, working with its customers to help them achieve sustainable growth.