30 May 2017 | 11.59 am
‘Silk Rail’ Delivers Volvo Cars From China
First delivery of S90s to arrive in Zeebrugge tomorrow
30 May 2017 | 11.59 am
China’s ‘New Silk Road’ trading transport strategy has received a boost, with 225 Volvo S90 saloons scheduled to arrive from Daqing to Zeebrugge in the Netherlands on May 31.
It’s the first time for cars manufactured in China to arrive in Europe using the recently opened China-Europe railway link. The 7,800 kilometre connection reduces the time it takes to transport vehicles to Europe by two thirds compared with sea routes, so customers get their car delivered quicker. By way of comparison, the distance from Dublin to Los Angeles is 8,300 kilometres.
Volvo was the first Western car maker to export a premium China-made car to the US in 2015, with the S60 Inscription. In November 2016, Volvo started building high-end versions of its S90 premium saloon in Daqing for export, and will soon be building all S90 vehicles in the factory for global export.
Beyond shorter waiting times for customers, Volvo says rail is also a smarter choice in terms of the environmental impact of logistics operations. Given the same distance, the CO2 emissions per tonne/km are reduced by a third by choosing rail over sea transport.
Each of the Volvo-dedicated trains traveling between Daqing and Zeebrugge will carry around 225 cars in specially designed containers (pictured). Initially, trains will depart from Daqing once a week, with frequency increasing in line with growing volumes.
The first S90 saloons will arrive in Zeebrugge on May 31, the same week as China’s prime minister, Li Keqiang, visits Belgium. During the visit, Li’s schedule includes meeting Volvo Cars’ chairman Li Shufu and chief executive Håkan Samuelsson.
The train route integrates Volvo’s global manufacturing and logistics strategy into the multi-billion euro trade flows between China and Europe and the so-called One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to resurrect the age-old Silk Road trade route, and which has attracted strong interest from Central Asian nations as well as Russia.
Volvo Cars is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China, which acquired it from Ford Motors in 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when Ford took it over.