Davies Turner, the UK’s leading independent freight forwarding company, is upgrading its fixed-day, weekly rail import service for LCL cargoes from China, following operational changes in the product.

Since the introduction of the service two years ago, MCC (Multi Country Consolidation) containers have been carried by rail from Wuhan across mainland China, Kazakhstan, Belarus and into Warsaw in Poland. On arrival, consignments destined for UK were transshipped to a local bonded warehouse for a NCTS / T1 bond to be issued, then trucked via Dover port to Davies Turner’s Dartford hub for subsequent customs clearance.

Following a recent restructuring of operations, containers will go by rail from Wuhan direct to Duisburg in Germany, before being trucked under bond to the port of Rotterdam and transported by ferry to Purfleet, near Dartford for on-carriage by truck to Davies Turner’s distribution centre, where they will be discharged, customs cleared and delivered.

Tony Cole, head of supply chain services at Davies Turner says:

“This new more direct method of moving the container from Wuhan to the UK will remove the current need to unload the container in Poland, then reload into a trailer, which will enable us to offer a lower rate to the market, and reduce the possibility of delays, as well as strengthening security.”

The service is offered in conjunction with Davies Turner’s long-standing partner in China – Air Sea Transport Inc – which arranges collection of shipments from any location in mainland China to the rail terminal at Wuhan, where closing dates are approximately three days prior to the departure of the intercontinental rail service.

The Wuhan rail hub to Dartford depot transit time is 22 to 24 days.

Philip Stephenson, chairman of Davies Turner adds:

“We were one of the early adopters of the opportunity to ship via rail from China to the UK and it has proved to be a practical way of offering an alternative with clear advantages over the ocean freight and air cargo options in terms of cost and transit times.

“I believe that the recent restructuring of our services leaves us as the only UK freight forwarder with a truly direct overland LCL and FCL option from Wuhan to the UK, with no transhipment of cargo en route.

“We have already seen during the previous two years of providing rail services how this option has assisted clients’ supply chain needs, and with proven schedule reliability, secure market conditions and competitive rates, rail is proving to be an increasingly popular choice.

“If a client is experiencing issues with orders running behind schedule, at times of peak ocean demand, when an ocean sailing has been missed or, as with the current ocean market conditions where vessels have been cut and are omitting UK ports, then rail is a viable service option, particularly so for larger shipments or dense cargo where the cost of air-freight can prove prohibitive.

“To date, the big selling point has been that the cost is significantly less than shipping the cargo by air and much quicker than getting it to destination by sea. Being able to reduce rates even further will give us the opportunity to convert more shipments from airfreight to the less expensive rail service, whilst upgrading shipments currently moving by ocean-freight to the faster overland option.”

In April this year, Davies Turner added an export LCL cargo service by rail from the UK to China to complement its import FCL and LCL rail consolidations in the other direction.

Stephenson concludes: “I would invite all interested parties to come and join us onboard Davies Turner’s revamped two-way Express China rail-freight services.”