Southeast Asia to Western Europe – Hellmann Extends the Iron Silk Road

Hellmann is further expanding its intercontinental rail connection between Asia and Europe. As part of a pilot phase, the Osnabrück-based company is offering an extended route network with immediate effect, which can be extended to Singapore by means of corresponding pre- and on-carriage services. In view of the tense situation in ocean freight, this offers shippers in intercontinental freight transport considerable advantages in terms of cargo space availability and transit times.

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Global ocean freight is facing massive challenges these days: Masses of goods, especially on the trade lanes between Asia and Europe, are driving the spiral of container shortages and lack of cargo space availability to ever greater heights. In order to be able to offer its customers alternative, reliable transports between the continents, Hellmann will be expanding its rail connection to Southeast Asia via intermodal pre-carriage and onward carriage in the future.

In concrete terms, Hellmann will be serving Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and also Singapore from China by train, truck, or sea. The central transshipment point for the expanded routes is Chongqing in southern China. There, the transit goods are cleared through customs in a bonded zone and then transshipped. Hellmann serves the new connections in both directions, i.e. both import and export, which is said to be particularly interesting for customers from the clothing, automotive, or consumer goods industries.

Two Weeks Faster than Sea Freight

Standard transit times between Chongqing and Hamburg or Duisburg, the previous endpoints of the Silk Road, average 17 days. Added to this are now 3 - 10 days for pre-carriage and onward carriage in Southeast Asia - depending on the mode of transport and the departure or arrival terminal. This means that the intercontinental rail connection is up to two weeks faster than transport by sea freight.

In particular, the Ever Given accident in the Suez Canal at the end of March has once again massively boosted demand for rail transport. Compared to the first quarter of the previous year, the Osnabrück-based company was able to increase its shipment numbers by a whopping 700 percent. Accordingly, demand is not expected to slacken off any time soon.

Consolidated Cargo by Rail

A special feature of the export business is Augsburg's connection as a transshipment and container packing facility. There, shipments from southern Germany and the neighboring Central and Eastern European states are consolidated and then transferred to rail at the DUSS terminal in Munich-Riem, which makes Hellmann the only company in this region to offer its customers efficient LCL rail transport in the hinterland away from the major seaports.

Katja Siefke

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