Davies Turner drops LCL rates on Express China train

Xi'an is not all ancient walls and terracotta warriors (Davies Turner)

Following the end of the Chinese New Year’s festivities and the restart of services, Davies Turner decided to reduce its rail freight service rates between China and the UK. Rate reductions will start taking place from mid-March 2021. Simultaneously, the service will reintroduce Full Container Load (FCL) shipments.

The new rates will charge 300 U.S Dollars per 500 kilograms / one cubic metre of cargo. This equals a reduction of 70 U.S Dollars per 500 kilograms / one cubic metre when it comes to Less Than Container Load (LCL) shipments.

According to Tony Cole, Davies Turner’s Head of Ocean, the reduction derives from the increased volumes on their Eurasian rail freight service. “Our weekly LCL volumes on the overland rail freight service increased from just two high cube 40-foot consol containers per week when we started the service in 2018, to six or seven, 40-foot HC consols per week now”, he commented.

FCL reintroduced

Moreover, the fact that connections to and from China showcase continuous growth led the logistics company to bring back FCL shipments. Cole underlined that this situation is mainly a result of Covid-19 impact on air and sea transport. “More and more shippers, traders and co-loading freight forwarders take advantage of the cost and time savings, as well as the greater reliability of the intermodal overland option”, he mentioned.

Consequently, the Dartford based company decided to bring FCL shipping back on track to provide more competitive options to its customers. Combined with the decreased rates, this move can attract more shippers towards the rail. After all, as Cole concluded, “with a transit time of around 24 days from China to Dartford, our direct weekly Express China Rail service for consol and FCL traffic continues to offer a reliable and much faster service versus the all-ocean alternative from ports on China’s North Eastern and Eastern coasts”.

Davies Turner container at Dartford 960 (Davies Turner)

Building a tradition

Davies Turner launched its own direct weekly fixed-day rail consol import service from China to the UK in November 2018 and has seen bookings increasing continually. The service involves an 18-day rail transit from Wuhan to Duisburg, Germany. The container is then trucked from Duisburg to Rotterdam, Netherlands, where it is put on a ferry destined for Purfleet, United Kingdom. If the cargo is LCL, the container is then trucked from Purfleet to Davies Turner’s warehouse in Dartford.

Last year and during the pandemic’s first wave, Wuhan got stranded due to health-related restriction measures. Even then, Davies Turner did not stop operating on the New Silk Road since it used Xi’an as a transient starting point for its Express China train. Later, during the summer of 2020, the company reported a doubling of traffic on its weekly rail services, that was also accompanied by the additon of more Chinese and European destinations such as Hefei in China and Neuss in Germany.

Since the whole service uses road haulage only during its very final stages, the logistics company seems to be building a reliable and stable tradition on Eurasian rail transport, utilising existing routes and connecting the UK directly to China.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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