This Thursday, June 4, 2020, a train of 41 wagons left Nanchang central station (China) for a journey of 11,920 kilometers through 7 countries, in the direction of Paris. This is the first time that such a train will have completed this route. After 20 days of travel, he will deliver his cargo, which contains in its 35 containers, 40 million surgical masks, equipment for hospital staff, gloves, water-soluble bags, contactless gel dispensers, etc., on behalf of BIFP.
BIFP, a distributor of the Hygial brand, has already sent more than 100 million masks and 40 million materials (gowns, Medakit serological test, gloves, etc.) for the use of caregivers since March 15, thanks to the charter of 12 cargo planes departing from China. The Savoyard company was, however, looking for a more environmentally friendly means of transport for its future orders. For its part, Forwardis, which is already present in Eurasian traffics, has committed to ensuring the connection from Nanchang to Paris in 20 days.
The rail solution is more efficient in terms of costs and carrying capacity. With the equivalent of six cargo planes in a single train, the cost of rail transport is 30 times cheaper than that of air transport for a mask (€ 0.01), which has a favorable effect on its selling price. And in environmental terms, the train’s carbon footprint is 15 times less than that of the plane (source : EcoTransit). As an indication, the duration of the train journey is approximately half the one by ship.
The choice of Nanchang as the departure city was motivated by its proximity to equipment suppliers, the presence of the main hub of the Cosco Shipping Group, partner of the project, and the desire of the province of Jiangxi, where Nanchang is located, to favor the operation. Cosco Shipping will run the convoy to the border with Kazakhstan. From there and up to Paris, the Forwardis teams will take charge of it.
At the end of the journey, part of the cargo entirely intended for hospitals and communities will be distributed in Ile-de-France, the rest being transported to the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region. More trains are expected to follow in the coming weeks.
Find the full press release here (in French): Forwardis organise le premier train de masques depuis la Chine.