When Beyoncé appears in public, a multibillion dollar fashion industry takes note of her attire, rushes to manufacture the low-cost equivalent, and then move it to markets as fast as possible. Air cargo has historically provided the critical link that makes this business model work, however news that a shipment of designer jeans left Wuhan, China, by train and arrived at Venissieux-Saint-Priest near Lyon, France 18 days later may threaten to upend aviation’s primacy in the business.
“The rail link between China and France opens great opportunities in continental rail,” said Kim Pedersen, executive vice president of GEODIS Freight Forwarding, which managed the rail transport between Wuhan and Lyon for KAPORAL, manufacturer of the aforementioned jeans.
Vincent Allal, head of KAPORAL’s supply chain noted that, in addition to reducing costs, the new model appeased consumers’ concerns about the environmental impact of “fast fashion.”
“The transit is relatively short, we have halved our bill on this transaction and we are very sensitive to the low environmental impact of this solution,” he explained.
The rail link is central to the China-backed “Silk Road” that runs through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France. With geopolitical conditions relatively muted along the route – at least from a freight security perspective – manufacturers now have a viable alternative to air cargo.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh, where numerous first-world fashion designers source their garments, has struggled with security of late and faces a months-long embargo on direct cargo flights.
Join us for networking and discussion of logistics innovation at Air Cargo World’s new ELEVATE 2016 Conference, Oct. 10, in Miami.