In the outskirts of Nantong, China's Yangtze River Delta
On both sides of the road, textile enterprises are densely arranged. The main reason for these enterprises to settle in the city is close to the sea. It is located in the inland port of Shanghai, the busiest container port in the world.
In addition, once the European trend or the sudden change in the North American climate leads to a change in the demand for a factory, the customer can choose to transport the goods to the airport in Shanghai by truck, to put the goods in the aircraft and to be sent to the need by air.
Meanwhile, in Shenyang, more than 1000 kilometers away from the northeast of Nantong, a auto parts factory operated by the German auto maker BMW (BMW) has taken a completely different approach to its supply chain. Every 24 hours, a container train starts at the Leipzig plant in BMW and arrives after 23 days of 11,000 kilometers.
Logistics between Nantong and Shenyang and developed economies presents a series of solutions to the seemingly simple problem of how to weave a global supply chain.
Affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan last year, as well as the global economic slowdown, many companies around the world have begun to reflect on their own logistics methods in order to further reduce the disruption to their operations. However, even for a factory, the single mode is not always applicable.
Bruno Schiedler (Bruno Sidler), chief operating officer of Ceva Logistics, based in Amsterdam, says the core problem is still simple. The value of certain goods is very high. In order to reduce the stock to reduce the cost, it is worth a considerable expense to use airlift, while all the other long-distance transportation almost all walk the sea road.
"Looking at the statistics, we can see that about 2% to 3% of Global trade uses air transport, but the total value of these trade accounts for 40% of global trade." "If the goods are expensive enough, the cost of capital is too high and they are not suitable for ocean transportation, they will choose air transportation," said seyler.
The Leipzig-Shenyang train line is operated by DB Schenker Rail, a railway logistics company under Deutsche Bahn. The operation history of this line shows how the business will weigh the advantages and disadvantages of various transportation modes when choosing the mode of transportation.
CEO Alexander Heidrich (Alexander Hedderich) says the attraction of the transport service is that it is far cheaper than airfreight, and that it is about two times faster than shipping.
But the current transport service is the second railway transport between Germany and Europe. The first Monday service stopped just six weeks after its operation in 2010 because other means of transport suddenly became cheaper.
In the wake of the financial crisis, shipping costs plunged by 90%, prompting customers to reconsider the shorter rail transit time against the insignificant cost of shipping.
Heydrich said: "railway freight is very vulnerable to such fluctuations."
However, Alan Braithwaite, a logistics consultant, points out that, in addition to the simple calculation of the value of goods and the cost of transportation, unexpected time pressure is often a decisive factor in forcing enterprises to choose air transport.
However, in some cases, reliability can also override costs and speed. Container liner companies generally claim that they should be more accurate to know when the goods will arrive at a port rather than the fastest delivery.
Many European long-distance goods are still using more expensive highways, rather than cost-effective railways.
Alain Thauvette, the Alain Thauvette, explained that the problem of the coordination of railway companies in all countries means that if railway operators refuse to arrange for the trains coming in neighbouring countries on their timetables, the short delay on the border may soon cause a 24 hour long detention.
But at the moment, the primary concern of many shippers may be to avoid holding too much stock as it did in October 2010, when the global demand for many commodities suddenly collapsed.
That led many shippers to reduce the number of goods transported by air in the middle of last year and to transport goods by sea. The freight volume of key shipping routes from Asia to Europe decreased correspondingly until last October.
Frequently, shippers are forced to resort to air carriers to ship hard-selling products or key components to stores or manufacturers.
"We must have seen an increase in the number of emergency services," he said.