Rail freight: the winner in 2020's war on containers


March 2020: the whole world turned upside down. Boundries are closing and international travels are no longer common. This has it's repercussions on international trade. It is no secret that Asia (especially China) is a major exporter to Europe. The unparalleled success of AliExpress, among others, is proof of that. To give you an idea: according to CBS figures (the Dutch agency for statistics), 4.2 billion euros worth of goods were transported from China to the Netherlands in 2018. Many organizations are therefore dependent on such a powerful country as China when it comes to sourcing their goods and materials. 

The battle for containers 

The traditional ways of transporting goods to and from Asia are by air or sea. Shortly after the Covid-19 outbreak, production in China stalled, shipping companies took their ships out of service, and capacity immediately became an issue. After the first wave, it was consumed in abundance in Western countries, whereupon international trade received a major boost, while a shortage of capacity and containers arose. The result? Sky-high logistics costs and long delivery times. 

Sea freight lost its appeal

The traditional forms of transport (air and sea freight) both have their advantages and disadvantages. Air freight is fast, but you pay a high price for it. In addition, the Co2 emissions are enormous and therefore not an option for organizations that want to reduce their carbon footprint. Sea freight takes about four weeks to arrive at the final destination, but it was still the cheapest option. 

..Was, we emphasize here. The capacity shortages caused prices to soar: an increase of three to four times the level of prices before the pandemic. As a result, both air and sea freight are now expensive options. But do you choose a longer delivery time, or a reduction in CO2?

Rail as the hero of 2020 

Fortunately, in this diabolical dilemma there is no need to make a choice. There is, in fact, another mode of transport that shuffled the cards once again and became the hero within the logistics sector: Rail transport. 

Also within Rail Transport there was a fight for containers, which caused prices to rise. Fortunately, not as hard as in shipping: because rail is not dependent on a single network and because capacity can easily be expanded with extra containers from inland rail terminals. As far as we are concerned, this makes rail transport the saviour of the logistics sector. Delivery times are relatively quick, costs remain low and CO2 emissions are 27 times lower than in aviation. 

Back to the old situation?

Will everything be reversed after the pandemic and will air and sea freight remain leading in the logistics market? We think not. Thanks to the extensive Rail network connecting the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia, Railcargo is gaining ground. Deliveries are becoming faster, prices remain stable and, not unimportantly, it is a lot less polluting than air cargo.

The pandemic has shown us how vulnerable logistics processes are when an organization only focuses on air or sea freight. As a result of these developments, we think Rail Transport has definitely been put on the map. More and more organizations are faced with strict sustainability targets, to which Rail can make a major contribution. 

Rail Bridge Cargo ensures that goods are delivered quickly, at a competitive price. Because we are an independent party, we can offer a customized solution for various logistical challenges. Our proven track record and continuous analyses enable us to guarantee short transit times. Are you looking for a reliable party that can relieve you of your logistical problems from A to Z? Challenge us and request a test shipment.

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