LCL containers on the Iron Silk Road

a. hartrodt expands rail service with weekly LCL departures to and from China.

At the beginning of July, a. hartrodt is expanding its Stars on Rails China train service with weekly less than container loads (LCL) from Europe to China. "We have fixed cargo capacity under our own control. For the customer, this has the advantage that he has short-term and flexible access to it," explains Florian Woebb, Manager Projects & Logistic Services at a. hartrodt Germany in Hamburg. Time-critical goods reach their target markets in China up to 50 percent faster via the Iron Silk Road compared to sea freight. The transit time from Central Europe to Shanghai, for example, is around 18 to 22 days.

Massive capacity problem with sea freight

Since the end of April, a. hartrodt has successfully offered the weekly LCL service from China to Europe, for example every Thursday with departures from Shanghai. "We developed the new offer for LCL because sea freight has a massive capacity problem," says Woebb. Bottlenecks have been further exacerbated by the Suez Canal blockade at the end of March and the recent Coronavirus outbreak in Chinese ports at the Pearl River Delta.

On-carriage from external EU border in 48 to 72 hours

"We offer our LCL services from anywhere in China to Europe," says Woebb. Stars on Rails has a multinational setup, allowing for a wide variety of connections. From Guangzhou in Southern China to Munich or from Wuhan in Central China to Nuremberg are just two examples. Regional teams from a. hartrodt organize on-carriage from the external EU border within 48 to 72 hours. This means that partial loads reach European submarkets such as Denmark quickly or, with the help of a. hartrodt's very strongly positioned Eastern Europe team, any destination in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Romania. "The route is completely irrelevant," clarifies Woebb.

Regardless of current bottlenecks in sea freight between China and Europe, the manager recommends to all customers: "Please consider the New Silk Road carefully as a permanent transport route." Woebb and his team accept inquiries about partial loads and, of course, the classic full container loads (FCL).

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