China to Europe by train instead of ship
Normally, technical textiles manufacturer Rivertex uses regular methods of transport such as air and sea freight to transport its goods. But in order to shorten transit times compared to a ship, and save costs compared to air freight, the company used rail for the first time when it had a special shipment to arrange from China.
Significant countries in Europe which Rivertex does business with are UK, France and Germany. As well as distribution in Europe, Rivertex also makes more and more use of international transport to the Middle East and USA. Rivertex also imports a lot of goods from China and Taiwan, where its products are manufactured.
Challenges can occur with imports from China and Taiwan in particular. Since the introduction of slow steaming, ships take 30 to 35 days to get from China to the Netherlands. “Previously, it was only about 26 days and we definitely notice the difference”, says John van Nieuwaal.
Faster transit by train
“For an urgent order we had to get the shipment here rapidly. At the time, DSV was one of the few forwarders who could offer rail, so they were given the job. And they did things very well – from the first contact to on time delivery. What I liked was the updates I got about where our shipment was en route. A ship is easy to track but a train is more difficult – tracking of trains needs to improve”.
Financially, rail is not yet attractive enough for the company to want to switch completely away from ships. “But when transit times are important, rail is an excellent option,” John van Nieuwaal adds.
“It’s great to have alternatives available. Then we can help customers optimise their supply chains and save money. At DSV we will keep on innovating and improving where necessary. We’re making our rail product even better and luckily, rail transport to and from China is growing very rapidly”, explains Rianne Norbruis, account manager at DSV.
Rivertex Technical Fabrics Group is a manufacturer and wholesaler of technical textile products for use in ocean shipping, personal protection, in medical products and for various industrial applications. It is part of the Winter Group of Switzerland and has offices and sales outlets in The Netherlands, UK and China.