Image: Maersk/Damco/Decathlon

Lyon-China line now for cooled transport

The rail freight service from the French city of Lyon to Wuhan in Central China is now available for refrigerated agricultural products. Trains are loaded and unloaded in Venissieux, 16 kilometres far from Lyon. There are two trains per week in both direction.

Previously, the service was only available for electronic and textile products, imported from China. It started in 2016, operated by the Chinese operator Wuhan Asia-Europe Logistics. The train journey takes between 15-18 days, cutting transit time compared with sea shipping lines, which take around 40 days between France and China. Today, the service is used by several French retailers, such as Decathlon, which contracted customised services to import Chinese sport clothes.

Chinese export

The French government took part in the Shanghai Importer Congress in 2018 to encourage the Chinese import of French grocery products such as wine, using rail freight services. As a result, Wuhan Asia-Europe Logistics agreed with French wine producers to promote their products in different Chinese online platforms. This secured the transport service and warehouse installations.

Lyon has strategic rail connections with Duisburg (Germany) and Barcelona (Spain), as well as with French cities Paris and Bordeaux. This enables an extension of the service to Southern and Central European clients, as China has started to be a key importer of frozen and refrigerated agricultural products.

Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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