Flexibility, cost advantage and ability to handle large volumes boosting demand
Truck freight between China and Europe is set to increase substantially after a vehicle loaded with high-tech manufacturing equipment successfully completed the 11,000 kilometer road journey from Dornstadt in Germany to Shanghai in two weeks.
The freight-laden truck crossed Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan before entering China for the final leg of its journey. It was also the first Europe-to-Shanghai truck freight by Suzhou-based logistics company, Suzhou Daoxin Supply Chain Management Co Ltd.
In February, Shanghai Lishun Electronics Science & Technology Co Ltd co-founder Xiong Desen's international trade company received an order for these equipment from a German company in Minhang district. But due to adverse weather conditions, the company could not use airfreight to ship the products in two weeks.
"When we learned that the goods could be transported through the roads in two weeks, we immediately decided to use this option," said Xiong. The truck carrying the hightech equipment completed customs clearance at Khorgas in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and reached Shanghai as per schedule.
"I never thought that the customs clearance would take only two to three hours. This is much shorter when compared with our previous experience of at least two to three days," said Xiong.
According to him, although air travel is faster, the freight spends more time in customs clearance and transitions. "In addition, we saved delivery costs by 42 percent through the road transport. So we are going to use truck transportation as much as possible in the future," said Xiong. Up to 90 percent of the company's goods were shipped by air before, as the products are of high value and delicate.
Another reason for using air transport was the strict security and time constraints. Rail transport was not feasible as it involved having a full train laden with goods to make it economically viable. In addition, goods had to be despatched to the railway station first, followed by road transit of the goods to the final destination, said Xiong.
According to IRU estimates, road transport can save up to 10 days compared to rail, and it costs much less than air transport.